“What do you do?” People ask each other this question all the time, and how many of us can summarize the scope of our business activities, convey the extent of our expertise and enthusiasm, and make the listener want to know more, all in the amount of time it takes for an elevator to travel a few floors? I know I can’t—yet.
Laura Poole, a freelance editor herself, gave us some tips on how to get your message across.
Goal of your speech
- Remember that your goal is to start a conversation.
- Adapt your speech to fit the person you’re talking to. If you’re talking to your editing colleagues, you can say “I do a lot of substantive editing,” but for the general public, it might be better to say, “I edit and proofread books and magazines.”
- Consider what you want people to know, and what’s unique about you.
Delivering your speech
- Smile and make eye contact. Use a conversational tone of voice and show your enthusiasm.
- Memorize the speech so that you don’t have to think about the words. That lets you pay attention to delivering your speech effectively.
- If this kind of speaking doesn’t come naturally to you, try to pretend that you’re someone who does enjoy it.