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How to create a more engaging 30-second commercial

Does your 30-second commercial grab people by the lapels and pull them into lively conversation? Or do you find yourself gazing into glazed eyes, while grasshoppers chirp noisily in the background? By choosing sensory words, you can get a lot more punch from your commercial.

There are endless networking books, marketing websites, and sales blogs that describe an effective format for a 30-second commercial. With that in mind, I’m not going to focus on the structure of your commercial (aka, your elevator pitch).

Instead, I want to talk about the words you use in your commercial.

But wait, you say. Someone once told you that how you say your 30-second commercial is much more important than what you say.

True… to an extent.

I believe that your choice of words directly affects how you deliver your commercial.

When you use sensory words (words related to sight, sound and touch), you can greatly improve your rhythm, your conviction, and ultimately, your connection with the person across from you – or on the other end of the phone, as the case may be.

The role of sensory receivers

There are schools of thought that suggest that people receive and process information in different ways − more specifically, through different senses.

  • Visual people tend to think in pictures. They speak quickly. They’re animated and use their hands. They have a tendency to interrupt and finish other people’s sentences. They want to go, go, go!
  • Kinesthetic people are visceral. They trust their gut. They tend to be slow, calm, and calculated in conversation. They like to process information and reflect on what’s being said.
  • Auditory people tend to listen to the words themselves. They’re the middle ground between visuals and kinesthetics, in that they’re often evenly paced in how they speak. They may be more monotone in their delivery.

Under this line of thinking, each of us has a dominant sense and a secondary sense. Depending on where you fall upon the spectrum, you may be fairly balanced between two of the senses, or you may have a strong tendency towards one particular sense.

So this is all very fine and well, you say. But what in the world does this have to do with making my 30-second commercial more engaging?

Choose words that appeal to the senses

As the saying goes, we do business with people whom we like… and who are like us. On a subconscious level, we connect with individuals who seem like us.

The key with your 30-second commercial is to get out of bland, boring words that could cure an insomniac.

Instead, choose words and phrases that appeal to the different senses. Words that appeal to your audience.

People who have each of the sensory styles − visual, kinesthetic and auditory − subtly communicate their sensory preferences. You may notice it in their speaking style. Or you may hear it in what they say. For example, people tend to use words and phrases that reflect the way they process information.

Examples of phrases that reflect
a person’s sensory preference


“I see what you mean”
“Show me”
“Looks good”
“This is clearer to me now”
“I get the picture”
“See you later”
“Are we on the same page?”


“How do you feel about that?”
“I grasp what you’re saying”
“I’ve got a handle on it”
“This feels right”
“I feel as though…”
“I get the sense that…”
“I’m not sure that’s within my comfort level”
“I need to wrap my arms around that”
“I trust my gut”
“My gut is telling me…”


“I hear what you’re saying”
“I’d like to hear more about that”
“That sounds good”
“Talk me through that”
“Can you tell me more?”
“I’m listening”

Ideally, you figure out the sensory preference of the person you’re speaking with before you share your commercial. That way, you can tailor how you say your commercial (the speed, pace, pitch, and rhythm) and what you say to his or her preference.

If that’s too much to ask, then create a commercial that contains words to appeal to all three senses.

Here are some examples from my 30-second commercial.

I often hear people say…

‘I’m stuck. I’m too close to my own story.’

‘I’m frustrated because we’re getting lost in the crowd.’

‘We’re bleeding leads. Our competitors look and sound more polished than we do, and it’s killing our business.’

‘Our team is not on the same page. We may as well be chasing our tails.’

How to improve your 30-second commercial

So are you ready to spice up your 30-second commercial?

If yes, get out your most recent draft.

  1. Look for places where you can use more concrete words. Change bland, throwaway phrases into vivid phrases that can appeal to a person’s sense of sight, sound or touch.
  2. Highlight the juicy words you want to emphasize. For example: I often hear, ‘I’m stuck. I’m too close to my own story.’
  3. As you practice your commercial (out loud), emphasize your juicy words. Give them some weight. These are the powerful ideas you want people to remember.

An added benefit

By being more deliberate in your word choice, you can create a more engaging commercial.

Just as important, you may find that you get greater enjoyment out of sharing your 30-second commercial. And that enjoyment will come across in your delivery and conviction – aka, how you say your commercial. In effect, you become more engaging.

Give these ideas a try, and let me know what you think.

Until next time!