Do You Have A Great Elevator Speech?

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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

“Hi, my name is Robbi and I…” If you’re attending a networking event and you have an opportunity to go around the room and introduce yourself and what you do, are you prepared? “What do you do?” That’s an easy question, right? Maybe, but when you’re given only 15-30 seconds to do so, you can’t run through a laundry list of the services you offer your clients or the products that you sell. You need to have a great elevator speech locked and loaded for when you’re asked that all important, “What do you do?” You want to 1) make an impression and 2) make the person asking the question want to know more and 3) most importantly you want to prepare your speech so that it shows what you do to help a client address a pain point, not necessarily, again, what you DO to address that pain point.

If you’re heading to a conference any time soon you will want to have a phrase or sentence or two that rolls off your tongue that lets the person who’s asking know who you are, what you do, and why you do it and most importantly how he or she could benefit from getting to know you better aka hiring you! If you attend networking events to garner new clients or meet new friends, you need to have an elevator speech prepared. Even if you meet someone at a conference and they aren’t a good fit for you and your business, they may know someone who is and if you’ve crafted a memorable elevator speech, chances are they will remember you.elevator speech

Here are my tips for crafting a great elevator speech:  

  1. Write down the words and phrases you want to use, but don’t recite it when you meet a potential client. It will sound stilted. “I help business owners craft their media message and assist them in disseminating it to their clientele.” What does that even mean?! Be simple and say, “I’m a social media consultant and blogger who helps my clients reach more of their clients!” If they want to know more, they’ll ask.  If you go with the first phrase, you will see their eyes glaze over and they’ll make a dash for the buffet.
  2. Even if you work in a high tech field, use low tech verbiage. Your business card or your website may have some high falutin’ phrases but consider how your words sound to the listener. You want to be approachable, right? You may have high tech products and services and I may need those services but if I only understand what I need in layman’s terms, I won’t know that we may be a good fit.
  3. Turn the question upside down and ask a question right back! As an example, and I read this somewhere but honestly cannot remember where, but it stuck with me. If you’re an organizational management consultant (ie a professional organizer) you could turn the question around and say, “You know how you keep wishing you could see the top of your desk and take care of all that paperwork? I’m a professional organizer and I help business owners see light at the end of the stack.” Clever and it makes the “what do you do” more interactive and memorable. Better yet, it doesn’t make you sound salesy because what you’re doing is addressing a potential pain point!
  4. Don’t want to go to a networking event and have to read your pitch from your sweaty palm. Practice in front of a mirror. Record yourself and play it back. You shouldn’t hesitate on what it is you do. If you’re hesitant imagine how your potential client will feel. Ask a trusted colleague to listen to your pitch and offer pointers.
  5. Be willing to toss the pitch aside and simply have a conversation. Pet people are a casual bunch and you’ll make more friends and potential contacts by being approachable than you will by having a memorable elevator pitch.

How great is your elevator speech? Do you use the same one at every networking event or conference or do you target it toward a specific audience?

(Photo: Shutterstock Dog singing)