Develop Your Elevator Speech
Have you ever seen someone’s eyes totally glaze over when you’ve told them about you and your company? It doesn’t matter if you’re the most interesting person in the world with revolutionary business solutions — communication between you and another person can shut down if what you say isn’t clear, concise and meaningful. So invest the time today to craft a 30-60 second elevator pitch that grabs people’s attention. Practice your speech first and make adjustments until it’s right. Use this tool to establish credibility, and you’ll open the door to more opportunities.
When I first joined MAP, I had a terribly long elevator speech. Albeit packed with good information about MAP and me, my spiel could have won a World’s Record for “speed in putting people to sleep.” Fortunately, I noticed fairly early on that if my weary listeners didn’t have that “deer in the headlights look,” then they were trying to politely excuse themselves to a) make a call; b) get some water; c) run to the bathroom; or d) all of the above. I’d start talking and within about 20 seconds, people couldn’t help tuning me out or looking for the nearest exit. This embarrassment, however, served a purpose by making me realize the importance of crafting a good elevator pitch — in fact, doing so is a great leadership discipline.
How can you keep your speech from becoming a snoozer? Follow just these few helpful tips, and you’ll really make it sing.
Go for simple. Start by writing out your speech, so you’ve got a black-and-white version — a script of sorts — you can commit to memory. Include your best skills and personal strengths, as well as key historical highlights related to your career. Summarize what your current organization/company does, but emphasize your role. After all, the speech is about you, not just your business.
Highlight what makes you different. Concisely define what makes your company different. Focus on how these differences benefit your customers. Do this well and you may sow a seed of interest with the other person that can eventually grow into a new opportunity.
Be yourself. Are you funny? Super positive? Highly creative? Very formal? Be yourself and make sure that what you say and how you say it reflects your personality, style and other unique characteristics.
Practice, practice, practice! It will feel awkward at first, but stand in front of a mirror and deliver your pitch privately or consider recording it so you can later critique your performance. Then start practicing the speech on friends and even testing it on strangers. Take note of their body language as they’re listening, gauging eye contact and fidgetiness. At what point in your delivery do they look down at their watch, cross their arms in defense, or start twirling their hair? Remember, first impressions in business are so important — a good one can make or break an opportunity to build a vital connection. Since this elevator speech contributes to your first impression, make it a discipline to get it right.
What should you NEVER say in an elevator speech?