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Scripts – are they a help or a hindrance?

Going back several years I was once asked by the PFS to speak at the regional conferences on ‘How to make an effective elevator pitch’.

In case you don’t know, an elevator pitch is a script you learn to describe your business.

It is supposed to be clever, engaging and pre-rehearsed so that it just naturally trips off your tongue. And is short enough to deliver in an elevator ride.

I believe the original idea came from the tech world.

If you were a young tech entrepreneur needing capital investment (so the story goes) and happened to get into a lift with a Bill Gates type who asked you “What do you do?”, your brilliant reply would immediately have him wanting to know more.

An elevator pitch is just one example of a script, but there are all manner available – initial meeting scripts, fee scripts, referral scripts, and lots more.

So, how useful are they? Do they help you or do they hinder you?

I remember coach Michael Neill once sharing a story about a guy he knew who won the world elevator speech championship!

Michael said he asked him just how much business this brilliant speech had won him, and he said…

None!

He said that being the champion had brought him some business but the elevator speech itself had yielded nothing.

Very telling!

Here is how it looks to me.

Having a well-thought-out way to express what you want to say seems like a great idea and on one level it makes perfect sense.

In practice, it is often a different story and there are at least two significant reasons why.

Firstly, one of the reasons people can be attracted to the idea of a script is because they are not clear in their own mind about what they are doing. So, it appears that a script will take the pressure off.

That’s perfectly fine and we can all lack clarity at times.

But, in my work as a business coach, I have found it far more powerful to help people get totally clear and congruent around what they are doing, rather than just providing them with a bunch of words.

This leads to the second reason…

A couple of days ago my friend David Callahan (successful actor, voice artist, and public speaking coach) delivered an insightful webinar to my ‘Freedom of mind programme’ group.

I asked David about scripts and making them sound authentic and this is what he said:

‘It has nothing to do with the content. It is about moving people to the point where the words don’t matter.’

So, what does this mean?

The impact you have is all about the quality of your presence, not the words. It’s always about the feeling behind the words.

If a script is delivered like you are just repeating something you heard or read, then it will more than likely have no (or even a negative) impact.

So, are scripts a help or a hindrance?

To me, there’s nothing wrong with having useful ways to describe what you do or to lead into a conversation.

But the most important factor in someone doing business with you is that they trust you implicitly.

If you are 100% behind a script and you can deliver it authentically, then great.

But if it causes you to become self-absorbed and robotic, no script can help you.

P.S. If scripts are something you’ve struggled with or you would like to be more articulate and clear when working with clients then consider joining us on the programme next week and put all that behind you.

John Dashfield
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.

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