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VINE VOICEon May 30, 2011
This author has "cred" - she's done it - on speech and debate teams in high school and college - followed by over 20 years as principal of her own public speaking, training and consulting firm. The book offers a how-to-guide. She starts by explaining why it's important to have a elevator speech to defining your intention, to creating the basic core outline, to building a persuasive case, to bringing the message to life - - to a close which includes frequently asked questions.

Author avoids using manipulation or tricks to accomplish the intention. She uses "Monroe's Motivated Sequence" formula as providing structure to the 3 minute elevator pitch - which means that most people, when presented with a clear challenge will shift into a natural problem solving mode. The sequence contains 5 distinct steps: 1) Gain attention, 2) establish need for change, 3) Satisfy need with a solution, 4) Visualization - project audience into future where they can see themselves enjoying the benefit, 5) Action Step - or close where you tell your audience what you want them to do today.

* Book is full of anecdotes, stories and real life experiences that keep this book lively and readable.

* Each chapter is tightly summarized and transitions nicely to the next. It is well written.

* A number of resources are available to the reader including exercises, templates and web access to additional tools.

I highly recommend this book to readers involved in for-profit and non-for-profit enterprises.

Some memorable passages:

"...life is busier, more crowded, and more competitive. We must earn the opportunity to be heard in today's market...people have little time to spare. Rivalry is rampant, whether from companies offering the same products or services as yours..."

"...I've found that it takes approximately 3 minutes to establish rapport with someone and build an intriguing message. Plus a person will usually give you that amount of time if you asked for it"

"...the point is you don't have to score on every play, just advance the ball."

"...I often see people make the mistake of being overly informative rather than persuasive. The data-dump syndrome is one of the most common pitfalls..."
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on June 18, 2011
As someone in the middle of preparation for a meeting with investors, this book was rather timely for me. I read it over the course of an afternoon hoping to glean what I could in order to improve my upcoming presentation, and I was amazed by how quickly I got through it.

This one cuts to the chase right away, and I found myself placing bookmarks and taking notes within minutes of starting the first chapter.

There is a nice mix of personal anecdote and broad takeaways useful for people in any profession, whether seeking VC investments like myself, or a sales person simply looking to score the next appointment.

The author breaks the elevator pitch into a series of 6 key points:

Intro
Body (3 Main Points)
Conclusion
Close

and breaks those topics even further into different types of styles and formats, such as how to be creative while still staying on point and keeping your audience engaged.

While I gleaned a lot about pacing and building a solid pitch, it would've been great to see a bit more detail, especially in the form of personal examples, but overall I'm very happy that I was given an opportunity to review this book. My single biggest take away wasn't necessarily how to format a pitch, but how to have an arsenal of pitches at your disposal, ready for use at a moment's notice. I also appreciated that Terri didn't sugarcoat the elevator pitch as an easy home run. It works, but it takes guts, which she certainly has in abundance.
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on January 8, 2014
The title and idea of this book sounded great but it was downhill from there. It's telling that the first chapter with any useful info starts, "I realize this chapter is not very sexy, but it contains important functional material..." For me substance in a business book is sexy. Isn't that the whole point to reading it? It's also missing the skill that good authors have to draw one forward, inspire them to take that next step and do that next exercise.

Don't waste your time or your money on this. Read Michael Port if you're looking help on your elevator pitch, or Dan Kennedy, or sales books... and trust your self... get passionate about what you're doing and share your passion then remember to have a call to action.
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on March 11, 2013
Good material, a bit long for the topic
but it certainly gets the point across
so everyone can understand it.

I recommend this for everyone, sales people,
business people, any one.
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Especially given the blizzards of communication exchanged electronically in recent years, I agree with Terri L. Sjodin that a "smaller" message not only can but usually does have a "bigger" impact. In fact, there are comparable admonitions such as "think big, act small" (the title of one of Jason Jennings' books), "Swing easy, hit hard" (Julius Boros), and "Less is more" (Robert Browning, in his poem "Andrea del Sarto"). I am also reminded of a bet Ernest Hemingway won in a bar in Paris when he was challenged to write a short story with only six words: "For sale, baby shoes, never worn." Brevity can indeed be, as Shakespeare suggests, "the soul of wit." It can also penetrate clutter and eliminate ambiguity.

Sjodin organizes and presents her material within 12 brief chapters and, while doing so, demonstrates how much meaning can be conveyed with both precision and concision. In the last chapter, Chapter 12, she poses and then responds ("with nuggets of advice and answers) to frequently asked questions. She thus shares a wealth of information, insights, and counsel to help each reader to communicate more effectively, whatever the given circumstances -- audience, content, format, strategic objective(s), etc. - may be. During the course of her lively and eloquent narrative, she explains

o How and why "The Elevator Speech + The Butterfly Effect = The Elevator Speech Effect"
o How specifically the Elevator Speech can communicate a small message that could have a large impact
o How to determine, clarify, and then articulate intentions (e.g. strategic objectives)
o How to formulate a basic core outline
o How to make a strong case, use illustrations effectively, and deliver a message with high-impact
o How to build a persuasive case (i.e. make a message both credible and, more importantly, convincing)
o How to "bring the message to life" (i.e. make it vivid, compelling, and memorable)
o How to be -- and be perceived to be -- authentic
Note: Oscar Wilde once suggested, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." Sjodin explains how to be your best self when communicating with others.
o How to "earn the right to be heard"
o How to improve the Elevator Speech
Note: It must always be a "work in progress" because you are, also.
o Rehearse! Rehearse! Rehearse!

Sjodin makes skillful use of several reader-friendly devices such as checklists, bullet points, sequences of action steps (e.g. shaping ideas and crafting a persuasive message on Page 29), downloadable illustrations (e.g. "Sic Point Star Method" on Page 110) and worksheets (e.g. Speech Evaluation Form" on Page 170), a "Review" section at the conclusion of the first 11 chapters, and the aforementioned FAQ section in Chapter 12. These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key points and passages later.

I presume to offer three (probably obvious) suggestions: Highlight key passages within each chapter, keep a separate notebook near at hand to record the additional points that the book's format simply cannot accommodate, and, be sure to check out the free resources at the website specified in the book.

Those who share my high regard for Terri Sjodin's book are urged to check out the aforementioned book by Jason Jennings, Think Big, Act Small: How America's Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive, as well as Robert B. Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Ken Segall's Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, and The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference, co-authored by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval.
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on August 13, 2011
The book is well-written and easy to read. The only problem I have with it is it's focus on a 3 minute elevator speech like a presentation. From my experience, the elevator speech is an attention grabber, 1 minute or less. Longer than that becomes something else.
But there are valuable principles here, that really make you think about the components of the elevator speech, no matter how long it is.
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on September 16, 2013
Terri Sjodin's book is a masterful step-by-step guide to creating a truly memorable message for yourself and your enterprise. Ms. Sjodin reminds us that we only have 3 minutes from the time we first meet someone until they're putting the finishing touches on your first impression. This book shows how best to make those precious minutes count. Clearly written and logically sound, this book belongs in every sales organization's arsenal.
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on June 2, 2011
Terri Sjodin has done it again! Her Small Message, Big Impact, is a fantastic book for individuals looking to dramatically improve their communication skills. It's a must for sales people, entrepreneurs, and especially new job entrants. Too often I meet people who can't give an elevator speech or take 30 minutes of time to explain stuff I don't care to know (I don't cut them off but I should!). Terri gives great examples, reminder bullet points, and memorable stories that stick with you as you prepare your own elevator speech. Well worth the purchase price!
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on August 22, 2011
I received an Advance Reader's copy of the book months ago. Promptly lost it, then found it again and re-read it. For me, this would have been exactly what I needed about 10 years ago. That's when I took the big step to go from engineering to marketing and sales. That's when I started my own consulting firm. The marketing and sales were the farthest things from anything I ever wanted to do. But if I was going to keep the roof over our heads and the food on the table, I needed to learn fast.

Well... learning fast is a relative thing. I could have sorely used a bit of faster learning! Sure, over the next few *years* I learned more and more about marketing and sales... and this is all pre-social media explosion! Had "Small Message, Big Impact" been available to me in 2001, I would have had the advantage of learning from a true marketing expert everything I accumulated over the course of another 5 years, and then some. It would have changed the upward trajectory of my business for the better a lot sooner!

Terry Sjodin provides step-by-step worksheets and formulaic templates for crafting your own big impact in a small message that's not cheesy or campy or obviously form-letter-y. In fact, her approach allows you to craft and re-craft your message to any audience, under any circumstance, at any time. Without ever losing focus on what you want to get across.

You can wait for the knowledge and the epiphanies to come your way by attending years at the school of hard knocks and weak networking breakfast coffee, or you can add JET-A fuel to your marketing and sales in a matter of minutes.

In Small Message, Big Impact, there are no barriers to entry with this book. You're handed good tools for clearing a path through the noise of other marketing babble to be heard and for your market to take action.

It's also a fun quick book.

(DISCLOSURE: I didn't rate it 5 stars for only one reason-- I reserve 5 stars for books that change *me* as a person and/or that I believe will have a huge impact on humanity.)
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on May 31, 2011
I read the galleys from Ms. Sjodin's latest work, and listened to the audio version, now I'm ready for my own copy so I can make notes.

What separates this publication from standard elevator speech methodologies is Terri's authenticity. She deftly integrates examples from her own life to illustrate for the reader how each point she makes is transferable to his or her own life.

Further, this isn't a solely business publication; it relates to practically all facets of life. So often we cringe at an event when we hear the standard "So what do you do?" question because we don't know what to say. This book will help you not only craft an answer, but instead an answer with punch.

I'm highly recommending this book to all of my associates.
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