Perfecting your 60-second introduction in business

I had such an interesting voice coaching session this past week with a woman who has been a fitness coach and has begun facilitating larger group meetings with the intent of eventually becoming a professional motivational speaker. We began at the beginning – perfecting her 1-minute introduction. When addressing a new person or group, you really only have about 15 seconds to make an impression and it will be either a positive one or a negative one. The switch is either turned on or off and the judgment that they will make about you is indelibly set. Based on this first impression, they will either engage and pay attention to what you have to say or disengage and tune you out. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that you are able to consistently deliver a clear, concise and likable 60-second introduction that clearly defines what you do and why.

It is commonly agreed by research psychologists that communication is 55% visual (body language, eye contact), 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, and tone of voice) and only 7% is the actual words that you use. With this in mind, we videoed her delivering the 1-minute introduction she usually does and set it aside as a reference point. Next, we wrote down the bullet points that made up her mission statement and re-ordered them according to which were most important. We started with the second most important one and ended with the most important one. With the wording adjusted so that it flowed, we were ready to work on presentation.

We discovered while watching her first video that she has a few nervous ticks such as gesturing with her hands in a dismissive way, swaying slightly and tilting her head to the side. All of these things undermined the confidence and enthusiasm her voice had when talking about herself. We also noticed a tendency to allow her voice to creep up at the ends of thoughts which undermined her authority in the statements.

I’m happy to say that when the hour-long session was over, we had adjusted these behaviours and the end result was a clear, confident message that she can use over and over again in a variety of settings. Beginning with a great first impression will help her become a more effective facilitator and speaker. Most adjustments are quite minor and my business clients are astonished at the positive results they experience by investing in their greatest resource – themselves.

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    Voice Teacher Kelowna specializing in singing, public speaking, spoken word and acting coaching