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The Do’s and Don’ts of Sharing your 30 Second Commercial

By Kristie Winchester, Director of Client Services @ SparkEffect (fka Torchiana)

We’ve all felt it. The anxiety, butterflies in your stomach right before you’re called on to speak in front of a group. Even the most seasoned performers share they still feel butterflies as they step on stage. I can’t tell you how to dissolve the nerves completely, but I can suggest some do’s and don’ts to consider when sharing your 30-second commercial to help you feel more confident and successful in front of a group.

As a college speech champion, a musical theatre vet and an avid networker, I know a thing or two about speaking in front of a crowd. In today’s mostly virtual world of work, it’s even more important to hone your public speaking skills and fine tune your pitch. You could be networking or interviewing over Zoom, both requiring that you know how to talk about yourself in a way people can connect to while also making them curious to know more about you!

Here are some tips to consider when practicing your 30-second commercial:

 Do – Time yourself as your practice your intro. 30 seconds is standard and gives you plenty of time to share key points about yourself. Anything beyond 30 seconds, people start to lose interest and may zone out. Rambling on will lead to the impression you lack care and organization. Grab your phone and set the 30 second timer and PRACTICE!

Don’t Read your resume summary as your pitch. Try this 30-second commercial outline to guide you as you create your pitch. Create one statement for each category and remember people want to get to know YOU and why you love your work, not just a list of all your accomplishments.

Do – Share the why behind what you do. The simple way to do this is to connect your values to your work. When you make that connection, your passion becomes clear. When you share your passion for your work, others are inspired to do the same. They’ll remember your “why” over your “what”.

Don’t – Use industry jargon and acronyms people outside of your field won’t know or understand. Big words will not impress but sharing a significant accomplishment or result does. It is more effective at showing the unique value you bring to the table.

Do – Customize your pitch to your audience. If you are networking, be sure to have a clear ask on how you can be supported and know your number one target company. In an interview, be sure to connect your knowledge of the company and the position to your skills and the results of your prior experience.

Don’t – EVER MAKE EXCUSES FOR BEING NERVOUS. Never apologize for yourself if you stumble, feel nervous or if you are new to networking! The only way to get better at speaking in front of others is to feel the fear and do it anyway! No one wants you to berate yourself if you make a mistake. Simply keep going! You will get better each time and most people will not notice if your pitch did not go as planned.

Do – Ask for feedback. Practice your pitch in front of a trusted colleague or friend who will give you honest feedback. They may be able to identify a blind spot or a key accomplishment you are leaving out. Incorporate the feedback and keep practicing.

In the end, the best way to dim those butterflies in your stomach is to prepare and practice. When you are in the moment and a word comes out funny or you stumble over words, give yourself grace. We are all human and are doing our best. Rest in the fact that when you take the time to prepare a 30-second commercial outline and practice, your commitment, dedication, passion, and professionalism will shine through

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