How do you start a conversation with your community?
The conventional wisdom is you’re supposed to start with an elevator speech. Right?
Forget the elevator speech. Erica Mills has a different take on starting a conversation. This simple little piece of advice will come in handy.
Feel free to share this video with your board members. I’m sure it’ll relieve some of their stress, and help them become better advocates for your organization.
If you have any stories or advice for starting conversations with your community, please share them in a comment box under the video. Thanks.
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Christopher Davenport says
If you have any stories or advice for starting conversations with your community, please share them in a comment box. Thanks.
John Healy says
Great video. I came another short video awhile ago also on the topic of how to turn an elevator speech into a conversation, and I think it is a great complement to what Ms. Mills’ is saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9upxCfltlbs
Ash Shepherd says
The other thing I love about framing this as a “conversation starter” is what it implies for what you need to say. You don’t start conversations with statements but questions in order to open the door to both sides contributing. Find out more about the other person and their interets and you are half way to finding our where your interests may or may not overlap.
Thanks for the great advice Erica.
Pam Montgomery says
Thank you, thank you! You just gave me the BEST exercise for our January Board meeting! My Board, which I think is truly a wonderful group of folks, really does agonize over that darned “elevator speech” concept. I think we’ll start the meeting with everyone writing the one thing we do that makes them most proud to be on the Board — and then we’ll see what turns up when we put the notes in a hat, pull them out — and they read each others’ statements.
Many, many thanks!!
Erica Mills (@ericamills) says
Pam–That sounds like a great exercise! In future meetings, you might ask: 1) if people only knew one thing about our organization, what would you want that one thing to be? 2) What do you think is the most compelling thing about our organization? The answers to these questions will, over time, get you to a place where you know which conversations you want to start in your community. Hopefully, this will lessen the agonizing. 🙂
Sarah McCrum Voelzke says
This is great. It really is a great starting point for building long-term relationships with donors and supporters. Thank you and keep up the good work!
Kevin Farmer says
Such a simple, yet subtle, shift in terminology makes all the difference. Rather than talking about “closing a deal” (scary) you tell colleagues to “start a conversation” which is much more interesting and far less challenging. Great advice.
Ben Gonsher says
great suggestions! it’s also, btw, a great technique to use to encourage the recipients of our great work to help tell their stories, either in person or in a letter as a thank you. We do this with our teens, because otherwise all their “thank you” speeches and letters sound the same. But when we help them think of ONE EXPERIENCE, or ONE LESSON they internalized with us, we get AMAZINGLY POWERFUL letters to share with our donors. Thank you for sharing, Erica!