Everyone has heard about the value of an elevator pitch – i.e. a complex idea or theme that you are able to communicate clearly and concisely in about 30 seconds, or approximately the time it would take to ride an elevator from one floor to the next. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to communicate essential information in a succinct manner; when you’re selling something (or yourself), whomever it is you’re speaking to is only going to pay attention for so long, so it’s important that you hit the key points fast.
When you’re in an interview or in the real world, you often have a little bit more time than that which is provided during an average elevator ride. So instead of 30 seconds, here’s a look into concise storytelling and how to share something with another person in two minutes that is relevant, and has a beginning, middle, and end–
What’s the Value of Being Clear and Concise?
There’s a huge value to telling stories, and to being clear and concise. Some of these advantages include:
- Establishing trust. One way that leaders can gain trust and teach others what’s important is by telling stories, according to an article published in The Harvard Business Review. Stories make you more relatable, likeable, and even virtuous-seeming.
- Getting attention. Another reason that stories are great, especially short ones that get to the point, is that they get the attention of your audience. If you’re able to really crush your storytelling, you can captivate an audience in a matter of seconds, a crucial skill for being able to communicate what you want and ultimately achieving your goal.
- People lose attention quickly. In a world where our attention flits from one thing to the next (have you checked your phone yet while reading this?), getting to the point quickly is critical. If you aren’t clear and concise and hit your point within two minutes or less, you risk losing your audience.
How to Tell a Great Story in Two Minutes
Creating a story or telling the world something about yourself in two minutes may be challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here are some tips to help you create a concise story that will wow:
- Get to the point. We know, we’ve already said it a few times, but you need to get to the meat of your story as soon as possible. Indeed, the point of your story should be pretty obvious by the time you’re halfway in.
- Don’t over-explain. One of the worst things that you can do when telling someone about yourself or your idea is to over-explain. Joseph McCormack, the author of BRIEF: Make a Bigger Impact By Saying Less, says that sharing too many details or burdening listeners with unnecessary information can turn something interesting into an agonizing experience.
- Prepare. Remember how we said it’s nice to have a beginning, middle, and end to your story? Well, the best way to hit all three, get in all the key points, and stay under the two-minute time limit is to prepare. Do not make the mistake of assuming that because you’re telling something short, you don’t need to put in the time or effort to put something together. We recommend writing out what you want to say, identifying the three parts to the story, and then trimming from there.
Want to Improve Your Communication Skills?
Brevity can be a true asset. Whether you’re interviewing, presenting, or just talking about something you’re passionate about, knowing how to communicate your ideas in a succinct manner can go a long way. To learn more about great communication skills and how to enhance yours, reach out to success coach and author Sheevaun Moran today to discuss your future.
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