By Rick Fishman
The demands on our time are overwhelming, constant, relentless. Everyone is rushing around at break-neck speed trying to jam more than is humanly possible into already overloaded schedules. Getting people to listen seems impossible because they’re frantic, have a million things on their minds and can’t spare a millisecond. If you ever pin them down, you’re given little time, you’re constantly interrupted and you realize that they have the attention span of minnows.
So if you get an opening, you better make good! You better be ready to say what you mean
- clearly and
Write A Sound Bite
Create a sound bite, a message, that you can deliver in less than 30 seconds. Cut it down to 10 or 15 seconds for the media. The purpose of a sound bite is to turn listeners on, it’s a verbal business card to deliver when you’re introduced to new people. It’s your “elevator speech:” a snappy, self-description that you can rattle off in the time it takes an elevator to rise from the lobby to the fifth floor.
The more you say briefly, the better the sound bite. As David Belasco said, “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea.”
Radio news segments come in ten second increments, so “if you can’t express what you want and why it’s news worthy in ten seconds, you’re off the phone,” advised a news director for a major NBC affiliate.
Your sound bite must be a grabber, a memorable message that makes listeners want to buy your products, champion your causes and fight your wars. If it’s short and gets their attention, it buys you more time to sell them.
Your sound bite must be:
- INTERESTING enough to attract immediate ATTENTION
- POWERFUL enough to be REMEMBERED and
- CONVINCING enough to STIR overloaded listeners into action.
In 30 seconds or less, your sound bite must explain:
- Who you are
- What you represent and
- Why you make a difference.
Examples of a variety of short, effective sound bites are:
- I used to weigh over 300 pounds; now, I’m a size 8. I can quickly teach you how to lose weight and keep it off. (Diet book author).
- My name is _________ and I free folks from financially worry. Give me a call and I’ll do the same for you. (Financial consultant).
- I teach people how to look rich, even if they aren’t. (Fashion adviser).
- I’m the James Bond for the new millennium. I make computers secure, detect break-ins and restore lost data. (Computer security expert).
- I train your brain and set free your imagination. (Biofeedback instructor).
Most people aren’t accustomed to promoting themselves. So when it’s time to blow their own horns, they don’t know what to say or they tend to over do it. However, in business, with so many competitors vying for the same dollars, you must distinguish yourself. And the best way to start is with a sound bite.
Shine Your Star
Be creative, make yourself sound like a star or make your product or service seem groundbreaking. In our celebrity-obsessed society, the media desperately seeks new faces. It loves to splash their names in headlines, tell the world their stories and ride their coat tails to fortune and fame. Help the media, do a good deed, write a sound bite that captivates them, show them that you have star potential and make them want to move mountains to advance your career.