Marketing Yourself: Perfecting the Elevator Speech 7 Easy Steps
Pretend you are attending a local meeting with business professionals. Or someone you just met in a social setting asks, “What business are you in?” Now, recite your elevator speech – GO.
How’d you do? Was it crisp – did you communicate the key things you want others to know about you or your business? Or did you ramble, trying to decide how to tell folks who you are and struggling to find the right words?
So, what is an elevator speech and why do you need one? An elevator speech is a quick summary of key information about you or your business. It is called an elevator speech because it should be short – short enough to share in the time it takes to ride up a few floors on an elevator It should be enthusiastic and persuasive – it’s a marketing message about YOU. Having a great elevator speech and delivering it with confidence and enthusiasm, can leave others with a great impression of you or your business, which can open doors and create new opportunities.
Here are seven tips for how to create and deliver an elevator speech that markets your best characteristics and makes a memorable impression:
- Start by writing down your elevator speech. It should include your profession (not your job title which may not be descriptive of your profession). Describe what you do, your expertise and the types of businesses or settings that you have worked in. Focus on your special strengths. What sets you apart? What unique attributes do you bring? What impact have you made?
- Remember to keep it short, 15 to 30 seconds. Much longer and you risk sounding like you are reading your bio – not a good thing!
- Practice delivering your elevator speech. Be enthusiastic, positive, and persuasive. No matter how good your elevator speech is, it won’t resonate unless you deliver it naturally and with passion. The more you verbalize your speech, the more comfortable, relaxed and natural it will become.
- Avoid speaking too fast, rambling, sounding rehearsed, using jargon, including unclear or clipped sentences, or trying to “get it all in”. Body language also matters – you should appear engaging and friendly. The only way to accomplish all this is by planning the contents of your elevator speech and practice delivering it.
- Be likable. It’s OK to boast – the whole point is to present yourself in the best light. But avoid language that props you up in comparison to other. I still remember a person who introduced herself and told me “My business treats customers right – not like all the other companies in this industry.” I was the owner of one of those “other companies.”
- Learn to deliver pieces of your speech and varying the order and emphasis. You don’t want your elevator speech to end as a one-way communication. You want it to promote an active conversation and exchange. Sometimes, your speech will be most effective if you simply include the key points of your speech in a back-and-forth conversation.
- Also prepare to vary your speech based on the audience. For example, you might want to emphasize different attributes if you are speaking to a new church member who asks, “What business are you in?” (such as how your company supports your local community) than you would emphasize when answering the same question asked by someone you just met a huge business conference.
Consider this: You have an elevator speech, whether you’ve prepared for it or not. You have to say something when folks ask questions like, “Where do you work?” or “Tell me about your business.” When many people introduce themselves, they just state their name, their position or title, and how long they have worked for their company. Boring and not that memorable, right? But a well-developed elevator speech that incorporates your unique talents and interests, delivered in a concise, natural way can make you and your business stand out from the crowd!
Here are some articles with additional information about how to create the perfect elevator speech. Some contain excellent examples!
Let’s chat about your elevator speech in our Facebook Community, She Leads – Women’s Leadership Development. We can’t wait to meet you there!