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“Small Message, Big Impact” Book Review

written by Head Health Nutter June 1, 2011

How would you like the power to convince your kids to eat veggies? Or learn how to sell your skills and value to a potential employer? Maybe you’d like to influence others in taking personal responsibility for saving our planet? “Small Message, Big Impact” may be the book you need!

Honestly, it took me a bit to get into Terri L. Sjodin’s new work, “Small Message, Big Impact: How to Put the Power of the Elevator Speech Effect to Work for You” but it was mainly because of the subtitle. While it is a business book and geared towards entrepreneurs, sales people, public presenters and writers/bloggers, I found that between Terri’s engaging storytelling and important information, anyone with a message will benefit from this workbook on persuasive communication.

About the Book

This compact, 189-page book is packed full of interesting anecdotes, analogies, and examples from movies and TV shows – which is exactly what she teaches in the book about how to be an effective, influential communicator! Being creative and relating to the audience is a BIG lesson in “Small Message, Big Impact.”

Ms. Sjodin believes in the power of an effective elevator speech (a short message that produces intended results). She builds a rock solid case for how a well-crafted and beautifully delivered three-minute elevator speech leaves an impact and initiates a ripple effect much like the chaos theory, butterfly effect.

And yes, while Terri does teach us how to create and deliver a 3-minute elevator speech (as promised) by the end of the book, complete with worksheets and homework, there’s way more to this book. She also demonstrates how we can all use a little attitude and perspective in order to be successful.

Ultimately, she asks us to grow as individuals. Terri encourages us to be authentic and step out of our comfort zone, asks us to go beyond our ego to investigate the listener’s needs and take responsibility for creating our destiny. All of which are necessary life skills, if you ask me!

Here’s a little from the book’s description:

“An entertaining, straightforward, and practical how-to guide on effectively communicating a critical message in a short period of time… Whatever their purpose – be it professional, academic, political, philanthropic, or personal – readers can learn to craft a fresh, brief, and persuasive message that generates tangible results!”

About the Author

Terri L. Sjodin is the principal and founder of Sjodin Communications, a public speaking, sales training, and consulting firm. For over twenty years, Terri has served as a speaker and consultant to an impressive list of companies, industry associations, academic conferences, CEOs, and members of the United States Congress. She is the author of New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (Wiley). Terri lives in Newport Beach, CA.

How topical is the book?

In today’s changing economy where there’s no such thing as a `secure job’ anymore, this book is a valuable tool for everyone. Whether you’re job hunting, switching careers or deciding to become an entrepreneur, knowing how to create and deliver a winning elevator speech is a critical asset.

And let’s not forget that the rate of climate change has spurred more people to become green. Many of these people take on a mission to spread the good word about how to properly care for the planet. Imagine if all these people, as well as others on world improvement campaigns, applied the knowledge in Terri’s book?

What else I loved about “Small Message, Big Impact”

Terri’s instructions are easy-to-follow and easy-to-apply. She teaches us how to organize our message (based on psychology) to avoid confusing the listener, suggests some simple non-verbal cues and how to respect others’ time with tips on timing.

Another mega lesson is how to balance logic and creativity while at the same time attending to delivery. She writes about how to `earn the right to be heard’ which rings true to me – everyone is so busy these days and with all the clutter on the internet and in social media, the best messages most likely go unheard.

And she doesn’t kid us, she says it’s hard work to craft an effective message but she’s convinced me that it’s worth it!

What I didn’t like about the book

The only aspect I wasn’t so hot on was the business focus. And I’m an entrepreneur!

In the book Ms. Sjodin comes across as the exact opposite of the typical, sleazy salesperson; yet words like `pitch’, `selling’ and `prospects’ litter the pages and they turned me off. Perhaps it’s the negative connotations that need reworking but readers who are not as stubborn as I nor in business may miss out on the author’s core message because they can’t see themselves as salespeople.


For the most part, I enjoyed reading “Small Message, Big Impact” because of the author’s writing style and the highly valuable information she shares. I learned a lot about effective communication, and I’m looking forward to going back through the book to work the exercises when I have more time.

I love Terri’s message, inspiration and encouragement for all of us to share our own messages with the world.

If this book sounds like it’ll help you, get the book on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com (click the link below next to the image).

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of “Small Message, Big Impact” in exchange for an honest review.

Small Message, Big Impact: How to Put the Power of the Elevator Speech Effect to Work for You

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Shachar June 2, 2011 at 2:46 am

Gonna give it a try, thanks!

Head Health Nutter June 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Enjoy, Shachar!

Dee September 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Hey Steph ~ only found this Small Message today (Sep 27) but want to thank you for the Big Impact your honest & balanced reviews always have on me. This one sounds like a practical update of Dale Carnegie’s method to “win friends or influence people”.
With Ontario’s election debate happening tonite, it seems timely and appropos for preparing politicians with short, well thought out summaries of the important issues ~ to deliver to the electorate (who often have a short attention span anyway) with great sound bytes or even a genuine knock out punch!
I’m tempted to read this book, having learned the “elevator speech” technique at a job finding club many years ago. ~ and think we can all use a little help with attitude adustments and perspective sometimes. All of us are “selling something” whether we realize it or not ~ even if only to convince kids to eat their veggies! heh 😀

Head Health Nutter September 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Ooo… Dee, I’ve been wanting to read Dale Carnegie’s book on how to win friends and influence people. Thanks for the comparison.

And thank you for your thoughts, including the connection of the book to Ontario’s elections and convincing kid’s (and adults!) to eat their veggies. hee hee

Dee September 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

You got THAT right Steph ~ many adults have even worse eating habits than the kids! I just found out that Anderson Cooper NEVER eats any fruits or vegetables ~ or much of anything else… Amazingly he looks slim & healthy, but that won’t last if he doesn’t start getting good nutrition. He could learn a lot from LiveLighter for sure (I’ll send him the link)

After watching the Election Debate, I’m convinced that the campaigns of all 3 leaders could benefit from reading Terri’s book, and Dale Carnegie’s too… Well IMHO learning never ends! 🙂

Head Health Nutter October 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

You’re SO right, Dee, I really believe the day we stop learning is the day we die – either figuratively or literally!

BTW, you’re the best for sending Anderson Cooper to Live Lighter. 😉

Dee October 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm

My pleasure Steph. I love his new show and follow him on Twitter. I sent this tweet @andersoncooper ~ You were mentioned in a Healthy Canadian blog. Check out Live Lighter here: http://livelighter.org/small-message-big-impact-book-review/
Hope he reads it, comments, tweets or invites you to chat via skype on his show sometime… that would be cool!

Head Health Nutter October 4, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Very cool, Dee, thank you! 🙂


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