Is there value in an elevator speech? Let me count the ways.
One of the most basic of all speeches is the elevator speech. This is a quickie introduction reserved for networking events. It is usually given under pressure and often unwillingly. You know how it goes: “Before we begin, let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.” If you are like most people, you are shrinking down in your seat wondering how idiotic you’d look slinking toward the exit.
However, let’s count the ways that an elevator speech is an excellent opportunity to perfect your own speaking ability and to reach out to potential clients.
1. While it may seem like heavy pressure, remember that everyone in the room has to submit to the same torture, so you are not alone. Misery loves company so there is a sense of togetherness and support in the very air of the room. If you choose a seat in the middle of the room, you’ll get a few moments to pull yourself together before you are put in the hot seat. You also get a moment to see that there is just no way that you could be the worst at this. Nearly everyone fumbles, giggles, blushes, stammers or in some way betrays their nerves. So, what the heck. Give it a go. Here is an opportunity to practice where the stakes are incredibly low.
2. Because these intros are so commonly used as ice breakers, you’d be foolish not to expect to have to give your elevator speech at every networking event you attend. So prepare. Take a minute before the next networking event and think about the top things that you do in your business. Keep it simple. You probably do a lot of things, but limit yourself to the top one, two or three in which you consider yourself an expert, have the most experience, are the best in your field or highly qualified. For example, “I am a coach, teacher and speaker.” “I am a scriptwriter, a script doctor and a show runner.” “I am a nurse, and a spanish language interpreter.” “I am a corporate photographer.” Again, the secret sauce is to keep it simple. Don’t go on and on explaining what you do because the most important step is the next one.
3. Why would anyone want your company’s product or service. Most people make a big mistake on this step and begin talking about the features of their company or their services. “We have the biggest and most expensive toxin sniffers in the state and our operators have been trained by the US military to run them.” Nix that approach and speak instead about your value. What benefits do you deliver. Try instead something like, “Companies hire us because they want to have a healthier workforce by eliminating toxins in the workplace.” And, “Company’s can keep their workforce safe with a toxin-free workplace.” And, “We clear a company of any airborn toxins that might make their workers sick.”
4. Okay. So now you have a pretty good elevator speech in place. It tells who you are, in simple terms what you do and why and how you can help people. It’s simple. It’s straight-forward. It houses your passion and your value in a few short sentences. When you stand up to introduce yourself with this little powerhouse of a statement in hand, you will stand a little taller and speak with greater confidence.
5. One last tip. Just before it is your turn to speak, take a deep breath in and let it out. Imagine you are about see someone you love and adore (your baby, your puppy, your spouse). Stand up with your head up, hands out of your pockets and give everyone a big smile. You are on your way to success.
6. Rinse and repeat.
photo credit: Jaded One, Flickr.com
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