The Secret to a Great 30-Second Commercial

This month I’m pleased to present a guest blog by Kealah Parkinson. Kealah’s is the author of the Speak Your Truth Workbook. You can find her at

Do you struggle with your 30-second commercial, sometimes known as your elevator pitch? Many business professionals do. Not only can getting the content right be challenging  — after all, you must pare down everything your business does into a few pertinent and memorable lines — but somehow managing to connect with your ideal clients and then close the deal with them often seems like too tall an order to fill in this quick timeframe. Yet that’s exactly what a great 30-second commercial accomplishes.

So, what’s the secret? In a word, it’s confidence. As a communications coach, my coaching philosophy is two-fold: First, confidence can be learned by anyone. (Yes, anyone — even that super-reluctant rep on your sales team who you know could contribute so much if she’d just step out of her comfort zone.) Second, when you are authentic and confident with your message, you are a magnet to those you wish to attract.

In other words, if you can confidently share your 30-second commercial every time, you’ll be more likely to have that ideal client walking up to you at the end of a networking function and saying, “When you introduced yourself, I thought you were talking right to me! I have all those problems you said you can help with.”

The real question then becomes: How do you know you’re delivering your pitch with confidence?

Try this test, also known as the BMT Index™: Think back to the last time you delivered your commercial and ask yourself a series of three questions, starting with, “What does my body feel?” (That’s the “B” of the index.) Describe to yourself in as much detail as possible (you may want to record this for posterity) all the physical sensations that come to memory. For instance, was your breathing shallow? Did your heart race? Did you find yourself blushing or shaking at all? By contrast, were you smiling? Did you feel a thrill in your stomach? Remember, nervousness and excitement can often feel the same in our bodies.

The next question in the series will help you get a better handle on which end of the spectrum you occupy. That question is, “What are my moods?” (Notice the “M.”) It’s important to note that moods are different from physical feelings. Moods are emotions, such as nervousness, excitement and even more exaggerated versions of these like anxiety, terror, thrill, fear or giddiness. Record as many moods/emotions as you can recall until you can’t think of anymore. Then ask the final question, “What are my thoughts?” (“T.”) Start by brainstorming all the thoughts you can remember without censoring yourself. They may even contradict each other, such as, “I don’t know what to say,” and “I can’t wait to see what comes of this!”

After you’ve recorded all your thoughts, look for patterns. What’s the overall thought or the one thought that gives you the biggest emotional and physical reaction? Recognizing this will help you determine what’s undermining your confidence in the moment — or conversely what’s spurring you on to success. Ideally, when you’ve identified the negative thoughts and embraced all the positive ones you can about delivering your 30-second commercial, you’ll be able to bring the positive thoughts to mind and even change your brain chemistry and your body’s responses in the moment to draw upon confidence. I teach customized mottos, or affirmation statements, to all my clients after we walk through the BMT Index™ together. The more you can consciously activate positive thinking before you present your pitch, the more likely you are to put your head up, pull your shoulders back and smile. And the more likely you are to get a smile back from the person across from you.  Confidence is contagious.

Incidentally, if you find that positive thinking in the moment is too much to hold in your brain as you’re trying to recite your commercial, try using power postures  to change your brain chemistry and increase your confidence. Head up, shoulders back, big smile on the lips: That’s a power posture! If it feels forced, just keep practicing. Pairing postures like this one with a personalized motto statement is a great way to boost your confidence anytime you communicate.