We have all heard the suggestion that we have an “elevator pitch.”
It’s a good idea to have a quick summary of your mission or new business idea ready to go at a moment’s notice. But I am going to suggest that you have a longer version ready as well.
In reality, you often get to talk about the mission of your organization with others in various venues – such as a coffee break during a conference or the cocktail reception at a special event – for longer than it takes to go to ten floors on an elevator. I suggest that you have a few soundbites ready to go for those situations. I call these “Mission Conversation” soundbites. They are not a recitation of your mission or vision statements. They need to happen naturally in a conversation in your own words.
As you think about your “Mission Conversation,” keep the AIM of your organization in mind (for whom you intend to make a difference) and the IMPACT (the difference you intend to make). For businesses, focus on the Noble Purpose of your company as per this blog.
Here is an example of a what a “Mission Conversation” looked like for me when I worked at LeaderShape.
The setting: a reception prior to a community event.
“It’s nice to meet you Rob, where do you work?”
“I work at LeaderShape. We are a nonprofit that puts on ethics-based leadership programs for college students across the country.
“Wow. That sounds cool.”
“It is. In fact, I first got involved as a volunteer and was so inspired by the difference it makes in young people’s lives that I jumped at the chance to work there.”
“So, what exactly do you do?”
“Our main program is an intensive, six-day residential program. We run it at various campuses across the country for their students – and we have national sessions that any student can attend. We teach them to have a healthy disregard for the impossible while building a more just, equitable, thriving society.”
I’ll stop there as I think this gives you the idea. Where do these conversations go next? You have to go with the flow. Maybe you have just met a potential new volunteer or donor or customer? Maybe even a potential new Board member.
Those of us who are staff or volunteers or Board members for organizations are vital Ambassadors who need to tell our story whenever given the opportunity. You never know where this can go!
Here is an activity for your next staff or Board meeting. Have people practice the same scenario above – meeting someone new at a community event. We all need to be ready to articulate our Mission Impact!