Monday, March 2, 2009

A “whipped topping” elevator speech: What the heck do you guys really do?















In a previous post I discussed how an elevator speech answers the question of: What do you do, that can help me? Writing a good elevator speech to introduce yourself or your company is hard. Writing a bad one is very easy.


Whipped topping is a substitute for real whipped cream. It’s just a garnish for dessert, so it is not expected to be anything substantial. I recently stumbled over the web site for a corporation that is little more than a bunch of fluffy whipped topping. The following statements have been edited just slightly, and the name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Under the “About Us” tab there is the following Corporate Description, which could be replaced just by saying: “we do stuff for you.”

Enematec is a top-tier provider of business and technology solutions designed to enhance and maximize the operational performance of its customers through the adaptation and deployment of advanced information technology and engineering services. We are an innovative leader in the design, development and delivery of these solutions to commercial and government sectors, from our offices located in major metropolitan centers throughout North America.

Of course, there also is a Mission Statement:
Enematec’s mission is to be in a leadership position in its industry by providing responsive, high-quality, reliable, technologically advanced, and cost-effective services that enable its customers to meet their business objectives, allow Enematec to enhance shareholder value, and afford its employees the opportunity to realize their professional and personal goals. Enematec supports this mission with dedication, resources and expertise.

Naturally there also is a Vision Statement:
Enematec’s vision is to be the #1 choice of customers for delivery of professional services while maintaining a strong commitment to technological innovation, continuous improvement through total quality management, employee career growth, and respecting the integrity of our customers and employees.

Both the Mission Statement page and the Vision Statement page also repeat the Corporate Description paragraph. All of the above might be better summarized by just saying: “We take your money, do great stuff for you, and still make a profit for us.” Maybe they also should have said: “You can trust us”, but would you believe them?

2 comments:

Public Speaking Training Expert, David Portney said...

That's hilarious! I just love those vague, rambling, buzz-word-filled descriptions - they're a great resource of what not to do. Who's actually paying for that fluff, anyway... new career in a tough job market? ;-)

Best,
David Portney

Richard I. Garber said...

David:

One of the problems in writing a general description for a service company is that when you try to describe it with just a paragraph all you have is the verbal equivalent to foamy soapsuds.

There also is nothing there attributed to anyone with a rank less than the Vice President of Something or Other.

Also, all of their press releases end with the following legal disclaimer. If you count forward-looking as being two words, then the paragraph-length sentence starting with it has a truly appalling length of precisely 100 words!

Disclaimer:

The Statements contained in this release (that are not purely historical) are forward-looking statements within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are subject to various risks, uncertainties (and other factors) that could cause the Company’s actual results, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements include (but are not limited to) those relating to demand for the Company’s services, expected demand for our services and expectations regarding our revenues, the Company’s ability to continue to utilize goodwill, to continue to increase gross margins, to achieve and manage growth, to develop and market new applications and services, risks relating to the acquisition and integration of acquired businesses, the ability of the Company to consummate acquisitions as to which it executes non-binding letters of intent, demand for new services and applications, timing of demand for services, industry strength and competition and general economic factors.

Investors are directed to consider such risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.