Today I’m going to share a very important skill with you—doing table
How do you get people interested in you when you only have 30 seconds?
You may disagree that we are not speakers and we don’t need to do table
topics. But think about that, how often you need to say something to
express yourself and get help from others? At least once a day right?
Whether you’re at a job interview, networking at a cocktail party, or
run into Warren Buffett in the elevator, quickly persuading others to
think you’re the most interesting person they’ll meet is no easy task.
No matter you are trying to give fashion advices to your friends or get
a project, and it doesn’t matter if it sounds like a big one or a casual
talk that people don’t even realize it’s a speech you’re giving. If
you’re trying to tell people what you believe and put it into their
brain, then it sure is a speech.
In all kinds of speeches, the most frequently-used is table topics,
cause you usually don’t get the chance to prepare. A table topic is a
talk you make without preparation. The sparkles of great thoughts always
come from table topics. That’s the difficult and beautiful parts.
“Most people can’t present what they’ve done effectively,” Paul
McDonald, a senior executive director at staffing firm, tells Business
Insider. “They’re not used to giving sound bites of what they do.”
But, don’t you ever think that we can not prepare and good table topic
speakers were born being great. We can always get improved if we learn
Here is a general pattern.
Below, McDonald gives us eight steps to crafting the perfect elevator
Answer. You need to give your answer to this topic so that people would
know what you are going to express. And it’s a really attention grabbing
opening if your answer is a unique approach.
Know exactly where you want to go.
People will listen to you in the rest of your speech. And if you give a
strong message with impact. Congratulations, the listeners will follow
your words no matter how good or bad you say. Because people would try
to prove you wrong, and it takes close attention to judge a speaker.
Reason. After telling your answer, you need to convince your audience.
So you’d better have a good reason. You can ask questions to make them
think. You can also expand the topic. Sticking on to the topic itself
can be narrow. And this would work best if your can add a little humor.
Your elevator pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do
you do? Where do you want to go, or what are you looking for? You need
to know exactly what you want to achieve or no one can help you get
Example. The best way of giving a reason is making a vivid example.
Here’s where you can tell your stories. People are curious about other
people’s stories, that human beings nature feature which was written in
the gene. And you know your stories better than anyone else so that no
one can question you. If you’re so bored that you don’t have any funny
story, tell your father’s stories. If your families are so bored then
tell stories of your friends. Or you can make up your own stories by
graft and transplant. I got this friend of mine who writes thousands of
funny stories of her lives which in fact none of them are 100% real.
They are not completely made up and that’s the smart part.
“Take your resume and LinkedIn profile and go through it thoroughly,”
says McDonald. If you’re unemployed, focus on where you want to go and
what you want to do.
Message. At the end of your story, highlight your opinion again. Your
opinion is so important, it’s the massage you want to tell people, it’s
what you make a table topic for. So, you need to be very careful and
appreciate this part. If you give a good and positive message, you are a
optimistic person and a negative one conversely.
Follow these four steps, you will make fair table topic, and I believe
you will make it excellent if you try more times.
Bullet point it.
After studying your resume and LinkedIn profile, write down four bullet
points that explain why you’re great, advises McDonald. Discuss your
work history, background, skills, accomplishments, and goals. Keep out
any irrelevant details that take away from your core message.
Tell them a story.
People love stories, says McDonald, so tell them a story. It also makes
it easier for others to remember you later on.
Self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie said in his book “Public Speaking
and Influencing Men in Business” that our minds are essentially
“associate machines,” which means we remember things better when there’s
a story or association attached to the subject. In other words, if you
want people to remember you, tell them a story and make sure it’s good.
You need to be able to explain what you do and who you are in a way that
appeals to most people. This means avoiding acronyms or terminology that
wouldn’t be understood by someone outside of your industry.
Dumbing down complex ideas is a “real art,” says McDonald. A good
strategy is to imagine explaining what you do to your parents and using
a similar formula in your elevator pitch. Making sure your pitch is in
layman’s terms is especially critical for those in accounting, finance,
Make sure it invites conversation.
After telling your story, the listener needs to be left wanting more. Is
your story compelling enough to do this? If not, you need to change your
While practicing your pitch, you should time yourself to make sure you
can tell your story in 30 seconds. If you can’t, cut down details and
Record yourself on video.
You need to know what you look like to others while you’re telling your
story. Are you interesting? Are you believable? People will come to
their own conclusions while listening to you so make sure you give off a
good impression. Relax, act natural, and get comfortable with your
Pitch it to your friends and colleagues.
After you’ve got your story down, practice your elevator pitch with
friends and colleagues. Ask them to give you feedback. Ask them what you
should do to make it better. Keep practicing and tweaking your pitch
until it’s natural for you to say aloud and convincing to the listener.