How To Start & Grow Your Business

How to Create an Effective Elevator Speech

John Daly
Feb 26th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 5 min read
  • Hummy's

    1Make it specific, not generic. 2The goal is to describe your business in 30 seconds. 3It takes thorough research and preparation to create.
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Startups Misc.

Futuristic elevator in the modern building Photo Credit: bspguy

An elevator speech sells an idea, promotes your business or markets you as an individual. It’s as essential as a business card and allows you to say who you are, what you are, what you do or are interested in doing, and how you can be a resource to your listener. Its purpose is to give people enough material to make them want to learn more about you. You can even use it at the beginning of an interview to give the other person enough info to make sense of you.

Here’s an example. “Hi, my name is John Daly, and I teach etiquette, protocol and social skills, mostly to teens. What it does is turn their direction to a path of success. I’m teaching it in all the Santa Barbara Unified School District high schools, but I’d like to see this taught in every school in America. Might we discuss how this can make a difference in your school?”

According to Pepperdine University: Elevator speeches evolved during the early days of the Internet explosion when web development companies were courting venture capital. Finance firms were swamped with applications for money, and the companies that won the cash were often those with a simple pitch. The best were those that could explain a business proposition to the occupants of an elevator in the time it took them to ride to their floor. In other words, an elevator speech that worked was able to describe and sell an idea in 30 seconds or less. Today, if you don’t have an elevator speech, people won’t know what you really do.

To write a solid elevator speech, Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management recommends that you know your audience, know yourself, outline your talk and then finalize it.

Know Your Audience

Before you do anything else, research your audience. An elevator speech needs to clearly target the people to whom you are going to speak. Generic pitches are doomed to failure.

Know Yourself

If you want to convince anyone, you have to specifically define what you are offering, what problems you are capable of solving and what benefits you bring to prospective contacts or employers. So, answer the following questions:

» What are your key strengths?

» What adjectives come to mind to describe you?

» What are you trying to sell or let others know about you?

» Why are you interested in the company or industry the person represents?

Outline Your Talk

Start with bullet points. No detail is necessary at this juncture. Just write notes to help you remember what you want to say. Address points like 1) Who am I? 2) What do I offer? 3) What problem can I solve or contributions can I make? 4) What do I want the listener to do after hearing my speech?

Finalize the Speech

Take the outline and expand on your notes by writing out each section. Take each note you wrote and turn it into a sentence. Connect each sentence together with additional phrases to make them flow. Review what you have written and change long words into conversational language. Cut out unnecessary words. Try to target your speech to not exceed 90 words.

Elevator Speech Examples

» Do you remember about 10 years ago when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed on re-entry? It turns out the engineers tried to warn NASA about the danger. But the PowerPoint slides they used were a complete mess and no one understood the danger.

That’s what I do. I train people how to make sure their PowerPoint slides aren’t a complete disaster. Students who attend my workshop can create slides that are 50 percent clearer and 50 percent more convincing, based on scores students give each other before and after the workshop.

I’m not sure if my training could work at your company. It really depends how much you use PowerPoint and what’s at stake. Might we discuss it? Click here for more information.

• • •

» Hi, I’m John Doe, and I help businesses reduce their tax liability. Last year, after reviewing the books of one company, my suggestions reduced their federal and state taxes by 25 percent. I’m sure I could help your business save money as well. While some of my competitors charge an hourly rate, I use a flat fee so my clients know exactly what their costs will be. I am currently accepting new clients; may I send you some additional information? Click here for more information.

• • •

» It’s so good to meet you. My name is Mary Smith. I have been helping women find their inner beauty for 15 years. The products I sell are only available through independent consultants and are not sold in stores. Our products pamper you and can make you look years younger. I have one client who is 67 years old and all her laugh lines disappeared after using our products. Can I interest you in a product brochure? Click here for more information.

This article was written by John Daly and published on Noozhawk.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Daly, who retired from the field of international special events, made the decision to give back to society in ways that could make it stronger and hence he created the curriculum of social skills and job readiness techniques.

His vision of a nationwide program encompasses classes not only for at-risk teens, but also for ESL students, high school, college and business school graduates, as well as returning veterans and job seekers, who also need this information to secure and keep the right jobs and a brighter future.

To read John’s book, “The Key Class – The Keys to Job Search Success,” click here.