We live in a world of talkers. We chat on our cell phones, email, blogs, Twitter and Facebook.  We are constantly telling people who we are, what we do and what we think.  But are we doing it in a clear way that helps others understand how our company can help them?

Can you tell someone who you are and what you do in 15 seconds or less?  This is actually a long time since the average adult attention span is 8 seconds.  The idea of the “elevator pitch” was born out of the story that entrepreneurs had to pitch to venture capitalists in the time it took for an elevator to get to the lobby in order to get funding for their business.

Why is this so important? In reality, most of us will stop listening after 15 seconds, and if you can’t get the listener interested right away, you lose.  Telling someone what you and your business do in this amount of time is a talent and needs to be practiced word for word.

Do not plan to ad lib this part or depend on your improvisational skills. When putting together your elevator pitch, ask these questions.

1. What is your mission/brand?

Think about your mission; why did you develop your brand. For example, I am “The Unstuck Guy.”  I help small business owners get out of their funk and move forward.  I apply simple and strategic steps to get their businesses growing again.

Where to Start: Complete this sentence: “I am the _______________.” or “People know me because I am the best at ____________________.”

2. What are your voice and values (i.e., how will people know it’s you)?

I use self-deprecating humor, storytelling, and extreme passion to communicate and connect with other people.  I tell them to forget the entrepreneur’s dream version of Disneyland.  You will never be Bill Gates or Richard Branson.  I clear the path of all those broken promises and faded dreams.  I tell the truth about what it’s really like to own a business and how they can be successful by starting from where they are.

Where to Start: Think about your unique style. Are you serious, funny, straightforward?  How do you connect with other people?  Ask others about their impression of you.

3. Who is your community?

I serve established small businesses who have been in business for multiple years.  These owners have enough experience with their business to relate to the challenges we face.  They are at a stage in business where their progress and success are far from what they expected, and they consider themselves either in a bad patch, confused or trapped.  The demographic includes men and women business owners between 35 and 55 with revenues over $1M.

Where to Start: Look at your current clients.  What is the profile you now serve?  Is this the community you want to be serving?

OK, did you follow along and draft an elevator pitch? Then, I am ready to listen. You have my undivided attention for the next 15 seconds. Go!