Your Time to Speak

Leads Group Success Path – Article #2

There you are sitting in a leads group meeting with multiple networking partners* (or even meeting informally in the coffee shop with one networking partner). Your time to talk has come. You stand up to tell a little bit about yourself. Maybe you have a minute – maybe ten minutes.

What do you say?

Wait a minute. Don’t answer yet. What are the ramifications for NOT saying something worthwhile? Do you lose that minute? Do you lose ten minutes? Or do you possibly lose a lot more

Did you know that you spend over 4000 minutes (66+ hours) in your leads group meeting each year. Add drive time, one-on-ones, etc. and you can probably double that time. For successful leads group participants making anywhere from $10,000-$100,000 per year from their leads group efforts, that’s time well spent.

But for unsuccessful leads group participants? Frustrating.

For those of you currently falling into the second category of participants I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are in complete control of your success. The bad news? You are in complete control of your success.

This brings me back to the original question. Your time to talk has come.

What do you say?

After 10 years of creating leads groups I can tell you what most people say:

“Hello I’m a ________________ (occupation) and we offer ________, ________, and ____________ (services).

Go to any leads group or networking event where the attendees get a chance to give a “commercial” or “elevator speech” and that’s what you hear from 80% of the people. Now let’s talk about what the 20% who have decided to take control of this process (and who, you guessed it, get 80% of the leads) are saying.

Successful leads group participants are saying something that:

1. everyone in the room can understand and relate to,

2. adds value to the listener (not the speaker),

3. generates curiosity and a desire to find out more, and/or

4. provides further insight into the benefits of their service/product.

If you are not doing one of those things every time you speak, you are wasting a huge opportunity and your chances of success are greatly diminished. Now please don’t think that I’m saying you must be a great speaker. Many of the more successful networkers and leads group members I’ve met are soft spoken and uncomfortable speaking in front of people. Be yourself. (Though your speaking skills will grow – you won’t be able to help it.)

And as yourself, don’t ever stand up to speak to someone in your network without accomplishing one of the four things stated above.

Your time to speak has come. What will you say?

*Networking Partner: someone with whom you can pass and receive business leads or valuable information. This is typically someone who does not compete with you for business and there is a mutual desire to help one another.

About Mark Hiatt

Over 10 years ago I began to learn the leads group and relationship networking world and I fell in love with it. Today I create leads groups, put on networking seminars and write books on the power of networking. Business is meant to be fun, uplifting and satisfying. Anything less is unacceptable. Networking is the way, the means and the path.
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23 Responses to Your Time to Speak

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  2. Mark,
    Nice post, I totally agree that we are in complete control of our success: in business and in our personal relationships! And, I love the points that the 20% make, especially adding value to the listener, NOT the speaker. The one big point I have learned in marketing myself to couples and singles who need relationship coaching is that they don’t really care about me or how brilliant I am. They care about my being able to help them create the loving, passionate life that they desire and about me helping them get from where they are now to that place.
    Thanks again,

  3. Rafael Cantu says:

    Hi Mark,

    Sometimes our passion about our business or service we offer overrides our common sense. You see the same thing in Social Networking and Blogging. The first chance some business owners get to share their information that start going on and on and on about what they do.

    I think the Key for small business owners and Network marketers is to learn to find problems and the people that have those problems and then provide a solution. If you focus on that, you can get away from the me attitude.

    Thank you for touching on this subject.

    Until the whole world hears,


  4. OK,
    I am Gary Young, President of Avela Corporation. We help companies source products and services in China, with offices in Houston and Shanghai since 2002.

    That is my elevator speech. Is it an 80 or 20?

    Great post and thanks in advance for your comments.

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  6. Hi Mark,
    Your well-written post sure covered items 1 and 2 of your four so you did very well.

    So many people have elevator speeches that could use some revamping (#1- something everyone can relate to) and your suggestions will definitely create an elevator speech that is unique from the rest (#2 – providing value for the reader, not the blogger).

    Based on you, my elevator speech will be getting some revamping and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

    (Dave) and Dawn

  7. Robin says:

    Your 4 points make a great outline for everyone to easily follow. I especially like the part about showing value to the listerner not the speaker….. Every business owners needs to spend some time polishing their “elevator speech.” You never know where you might need it! 🙂

    To your continued success,

  8. To take what Dawn said above, you have also incorporated #3 – curiosity. Because I’d like to hear a few examples that highlight the four best-practice characteristics you mentioned.

    I’m very happy to have discovered your blog and will try to connect with you off-blog.


  9. Steve says:

    Loved this Matt.

    Valuable information! What did Gordon Geko say in the first Wall Street movie?

    “The most powerful commodity is information…”

    Nice article,


  10. Hey Matt

    What would I say, hmmm 🙂

    Elevator speeches can be like pickup lines, some very corny and others that peak interest.

  11. Mark,
    Liz Goodgold’s book, “Red Fire Branding,” devotes a chapter to your elevator speech. She covers your four points with what she calls “Lizizms.” To say she has panache is putting it mildly. I highly recommend it:)

    Thanks for the strong reminder to have a captivating elevator speech. I enjoyed your article a lot and look forward to visiting your blog often.

  12. Mark,I am not a member of a lead group, but here is my personal introduction speech: You know how in this changing economy, people are finding it harder to make and keep the money What I do is help people start their own part time business, so they can start taking care of themselves and their families again.

    Thanks for covering a key subject that helps build a successful business.

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City USA

  13. Hello Mark

    Nice Post of Speaking up!

    I agree with Speaking up. We sometimes dont realize how much time we spend with our leads groups and Time is money. We do need to speak up and use your tips of saying something that adds value to the listener and generate curiosity etc.

    I was a victim to the crime of silence until I really started opening up and networking. It is a powerful tool that has helped my business tremendously. Thank you for sharing this.

    Have a good One,
    Taralee Bernier

  14. Kathy Jodrey says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’ve just begun going back to networking meetings, (kicking and screaming the whole way….) – so this is a very timely post for me.

    You’re absolutely right, most elevator speeches are cookie cutter, and focus on the speaker. What each of us needs is a compelling reason for others to listen to us and to want to learn more about what we can offer THEM. Thanks for the great pointers….will definitely put them into practice!

    Kathy Jodrey

  15. Hi there Mark,
    Leads groups. I have never heard of that phrase before but if I understand right, it is a business networking group. Well, I think there is not much point in attending these if you are not going to open your mouth. I remember attending an interview technique course a while back and I learned something that stayed with me forever. “Practice accomplishment statements. ” When asked a question you answer it and then say, “for example, I was in a similar position in whatitsname company and I did this …….and the result was I increased….by …% and we made xyz additional profit”. It is a similar thing to having your elevator speech ready. Sensible stuff.
    Good luck with those leads meetings. My elevator speeches are contained in my auto-responder!

    Best regards


  16. Shari Weiss says:

    Hi Mark,
    Having recently joined BNI, a business referral group, I am continually learning and practicing new ways to give my “infomercial” and all your points are great. One thing that I have to add, however, is that once your group knows you, you should definitely think about adding testimonials to your time in front of the group. This is definitely an opportunity to benefit from the concept that GIVERS GAIN.

  17. Hi Mark,

    I don’t belong to a leads group, however I can definitely see the benefit of it. I believe that your advice on what your message should deliver when speaking about your business applies to any situation. Great advice!!


  18. HI Mark, Thanks for this post although I am not in network marketing still sound advice for my business for when I am networking. I particularly like your points that your intro needs to be something that everyone can relate to and adds value to the listener. Would appreciate your opinion of mine if you could indulge me.

  19. Kim Tarr says:


    This is good stuff! While I have not attend events that allow 5 minutes to speak – that is definately one thing that I want to start doing, so this was great information.

    Adding value is so important because you want be viewed you as a leader not just someone that wants a signup in their biz.



  20. Mattgeib says:


    This is a wonderful post! I loved the four points you made especially the points about getting a story/ point across that others can relate to & Adding value to others. I have this phrase posted above my PC where I work on my Business ,,”What VALUE Can I Give or Crate For Others?”. As one of my Mentors Joe Schroeder always ‘drilled’ into my head “What you GIVE AWAY you Get to KEEP”

    Matt Geib The Great

  21. I think that when you speak from your heart people will be more attracted to you. It’s not about what you know it’s the passion you put behind what you know that people hold on to.


  22. Maggie Lancy says:

    This is so true.

    People need to know you care and that you are listening!

    It is not all about you!
    Great post.

  23. Hi Mark,
    What a great suggestion to be different from the 80%, stand out and offer value. Sounds like outstanding advice to me especially from an individual like yourself who has much experience in leads groups and networking.

    To not focus on yourself and to instead focus on what will help others is definitely a key to success!

    Thanks for offering your expert insight and helping us to be different and more valuable!

    Dawn and (Dave)

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