If you're in business, looking for a job, of even if you socialize a lot, having an "elevator speech" is an
essential resource to have in your professional or personal tool box.
For those who are not familiar with the concept, let's start with an elevator speech definition:
An elevator speech (or 30 second intro) is a short, persuasive description of a person, organization or
group, or an idea for a product, service, or project.
It is a sound bite that details your professional or personal story, which should be prepared well in
advance before you need it. This sound bite is a short well-crafted statement that should be concise but
detailed enough to inform a potential business prospect, employer or anyone else you come into
contact with about yourself, your business, your products or services, or your organization, preferably in
the amount of time it takes to ride in an elevator.
An elevator speech, therefore, should be short, to the point and grab your listener's attention by saying
a lot in very few words, yet leave your audience wanting to know more.
A good elevator speech can be as short as 3 to 4 short sentences, about 50-100 words and take less than
30 seconds to deliver, or, as we will see a little later in this article, it can even be longer than 30 seconds.
One minute and 2 minute elevator speeches can also be used in appropriate situations.
According to Wikipedia, an elevator speech is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. A
good elevator speech is short but packed with information that is memorable, original, and personal.
In business, the elevator speech is a powerful sales tool for just about everyone. It will create great
relationships and bring in more sales. Those who know how to use it effectively, would most likely agree
that it is as essential nowadays as using a business card.
In your personal and social life, a prepared intro speech can be useful as a way of getting a job interview,
or providing a quick introduction to any topic you want to pursue further with others in conversation.
Ultimately, the elevator speech is your 7 - 30 second response to the question, "so what do you do?"
and the answer should be effective enough to introduce yourself and get your point across to a
complete stranger in the time it would take for you to share a ride in a lift.
The Purpose Of An Elevator Speech
One of the great benefits of an elevator speech is that it helps you think attentively, creatively and
intently about yourself, your job history or business, and your goals. It helps you to organize the
information inside your head and crystallize your communication with others.
I first came across the concept of "elevator speeches" and the necessity of having them readily available
many years ago, when I joined a network marketing company with no previous experience in business,
sales or presenting.
The dilemma that most newcomers to network marketing experience when trying to grow their
business, is whether to lead conversations with people they meet with the product or the business
opportunity. In other words, if someone asks you what you do and you talk to them about your products
(e.g. "I market a terrific nutritional supplement, blah blah blah..."), then you are steering the
conversation towards a retail sale. If you lead with the business opportunity, however, (e.g. "I train
motivated people on ways to build a profitable home based business, etc...") then you are qualifying
people for your business as a potential new recruit.
Having a couple of elevator speeches ready and knowing when to apply each type, therefore, was a
valuable lesson I gained during my network marketing years.
Although I am no longer involved in the direct selling industry, the elevator speech is just as vital today
in my professional and business life, as it was when I was trying to build a distributor organization many
Today, elevator speeches are more often used at networking events than in actual elevators, but the
purpose is the same. Having a scripted mini-speech when searching for a job lead enables you to provide
succinct information to the network of people around you so they know exactly what you are looking for
and can help you find it. These short-to-the-point intros are also appropriate to use when following up
on referrals or leads.
Let's take a look a little more deeply, then, at the purpose of creating and using an elevator speech.
A really good elevator speech should help you create opportunities to pursue new business, new job
offers, or new social contacts.
The purpose of your elevator speech should be to help you start a conversation with one or more
people and get their permission to continue it. A good elevator speech will immediately grab your
listener's attention by saying a lot in very few words and then leave your audience wanting to know
Instead of disengaging your prospect's attention, a properly delivered elevator speech should create a
positive response and lead to a positive result. It should get people interested enough to continue
talking about you, your product or your business, or make them want to call you again to understand
more of what you're all about.
How To Write An Elevator Speech
Your elevator speech should not be your organization's mission statement, or your resume. Also, one of
the most common mistakes made when trying to come up with an effective intro is to focus on what
you do, or what you are.
Your elevator speech should be conversational, probably last 30 seconds or less and focus on one or
more "emotional benefits" for the prospect.
In other words, there's got to be something in it for your prospect. Don't make it about you, make it
about "them" and how you can help "them" to solve a problem or improve their lives.