The infamous elevator speech. If you own a business or have ever worked in sales, you’re probably already familiar with it. But elevator speeches aren’t just for sales people and entrepreneurs. If you are trying to accomplish anything that requires help from others, you could benefit from an elevator speech. This includes looking for work, trying to raise money or awareness for a cause, dating, or just trying to make new connections.
In fact, practically everyone can use an elevator speech. So let’s take a deeper dive into the concept and then I’ll share some tips.
What is an Elevator Speech:
An elevator speech quickly explains to someone what you do. The purpose of a good elevator speech is to get the other person interested in learning more about you, your product or your cause. The name comes from the concept of being able to effectively explain your idea, business or yourself in the time it takes to ride an elevator. You should target 30 seconds to make you speech most effective – this should cover most situations. In fact, at most speed networking events, you’ll have only a short amount of time to introduce yourself to each person. So the elevator speech is a great way to connect with the people you’re paired with.
The Key Components:
An elevator speech doesn’t need to be overly complicated and you don’t need to include your whole life story. Instead, just ensure you have these basic components:
- Your name. Always start with your name and ensure you say it clearly. If you name has a unique spelling or is difficult to pronounce, take a few seconds to explain this when you introduce yourself.
- Your purpose. Are you selling something, trying to raise money or looking for a job? Explain what you do or what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Something memorable and/or interesting. You want the listener to remember you so this is especially important at networking events where the listener may have met dozens of other people.
And when you’re done sharing what you do, don’t forget to ask the listen to introduce themselves (if they haven’t already). You don’t want to make it all about you.
How to Make Your Elevator Speech Stand out:
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish at each event and tweak your elevator speech accordingly. You should have one elevator speech for each thing you’re trying to accomplish. So if you’re single and in sales, you’ll want one for your product and one for yourself. After all, you never know who you’ll run into on a train. You could meet a potential buyer for your product or a potential date.
- Answer the Basics. Who are you? What do you do? Again, focus on how can you benefit the listener.
- Keep it Simple. Avoid industry jargon, slang, corny jokes and don’t sound like a brochure. Keep it short and to the point.
- Practice. Test it on colleagues and friends to get feedback. Practice it several times before the event.
- Think about what’s next. You’ve got their interest – now what? Always have some talking points in your back pocket to help you carry on the conversation.
Networking is an important skill to have. If you’d like to learn how to really work a room, feel free to check out my in-person course or downloadable audio program.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.