Are You Tongue Tied?

I follow lots of people in the on line world and one of my favorites is Chris Brogan of  Here’s some information about Chris (directly from his site:)

Chris Brogan is President of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency, as well as the home of the New Marketing Summit conferences and New Marketing Bootcamp educational events. He works with large and mid-sized companies to improve online business communications like marketing and PR through the use of social software, community platforms, and other emerging web and mobile technologies

Pretty straight forward – as is Chris.

Now, the reason for this post is because Chris recently wrote in his blog:  27 Things To Do Before A Conference.  As I’m headed off to Chicago for a conference in April, Chris’ post couldn’t come at a better time.  While all the information he provides is helpful, of particular interest to me and what I wanted to highlight for you is this entry:

#24  If you’ve got a business offer to promote at an event, practice and practice and practice how you’re going to talk about it. Be crisp. Make it easy to say. Be very clear about the ask. If you’re looking for people to review your demo, then make that the ask. If you’re looking for work, be clear that you’re available for a few extra projects. It seems that lots of folks beat around the bush or don’t exactly know how to have a beginning, middle, and end to a conversation.

I find that lots of people who are in business do not understand the importance of being able to answer normal, business type questions – what do you do, how do you do it, how much do you charge – and sound like a coherent, intelligent person (meaning not stumbling through scattered information in sentences laden with uhhhs and ummms).  Even if there is no networking event or trade show to attend, every e-preneur needs to be able to speak about their business.

It’s not that I don’t understand why…. I attribute it to the fact that e-preneurs spend a lot of time in the first few years on development.  Generally, working alone for one or two clients while putting in place the processes and tech their budding business needs to be in business and, of course, grow.  This means, e-preneurs don’t spend much time in the first few years talking to anyone not already familiar with them and their business, service or product.  Hence, no need to develop the lingo.

This is why I always suggest to newbie VAs and fledgling e-preneurs that they write out a list of the “normal” business questions they will be asked.  You know, the stuff they would ask of someone else if they were doing the hiring.  Then draft 1-3 sentence responses.  Some questions may require more information – but the goal is to deliver the answer in as few words as possible – keeping the answer somehow memorable, if possible.

Once the words are written, it is just a matter of practice.  I encourage literally speaking the sentences out loud, and refining the responses until each rolls off the tongue with ease.

For those who prefer a live audience to practice on, look to ToastMasters International – a true not for profit group with a mission to help ordinary people speak better and become better leaders. There are ToastMasters clubs in 100+ countries and you can find one near you by visiting the main site:

Original post date March 18, 2009