A fellow speech coach and past owner of a speakers bureau, Sandra Schrift, works a lot with professional speakers and with people who want to get paid for speaking. She helps them craft what she calls a defining statement — one or two sentences that identify their target audiences, the topic they speak about, and the benefit they provide.
I’ve always liked the concept of a defining statement — it sounds classier than “an elevator speech” — and I’ve used many of Sandra’s suggestions.
But lately I’ve realized I use a variation of it that I call an undefining statement. I use it as a way of distinguishing myself from others. I say what I don’t do — how I’m unlike other people who do what I do — in order to highlight what I do do.
I might say, for example, ”Unlike other speech coaches who focus primarily on delivery — on how people stand and move and sound when they’re giving a speech — I show my clients how to develop a strategy and a compelling message so that their speeches accomplish their goals.”
Here’s how it works. Fill in the blanks:
“Unlike other ____________________[your competitors]
who _________________________________________[describe what they do or how they do it]
I ___________________________________________[describe what you do or how you do it].”
Saying what you don’t do or how you don’t work or who you don’t work with is a way of setting yourself apart. It’s much better than saying you’ll do anything for anyone. And it’s a way of more concretely defining who you are and what you do.
What do you think?