Your elevator speech, your succinct, power-packed company description timed perfectly to share in between floors in an elevator (thus the term “elevator speech”) is probably a phrase you’re familiar with. Any time you’re asked, “So what does (YOUR ORGANIZATION) do?” you’ve delivered it, and hopefully you’ve crafted it over time. Since it’s one of the most important tools in your marketing toolbelt, it’s worth revisiting every so often to be sure it’s still singing for you. Here are some tips to perfect your elevator speech and keep it on the rise.
The whole point of an elevator speech is to keep it short. Many people struggle with picking out the most important pieces of information to share, and instead rattle on too long. A good elevator speech opens up the conversation and shares a meaningful highlight of what your company does, who you serve and why it’s important. You’ll have to edit in order to keep it short. The art of a good elevator speech is to get that information into a short sound bite, not a full dissertation. If your listener is interested, s/he can ask questions, so don’t feel pressure to share everything; just the most important thing.
Put the “why” before the “what.”
For most of us, it’s instinctual to tell people what we do first rather than leading with why we do it. Switching the order of how we share the information crafts an elevator speech that puts the customer benefit front and center, which is generally more interesting to your listener. By leading with the benefit, your listener will naturally be more interested in learning more about how you deliver that value. As an example, I could say, “Chartwell Agency is an integrated communications agency that focuses on the health care, financial and education markets.” It’s accurate, but it leads with what we do rather than why we do it. Instead, a better elevator speech spices things up by leading with “why.” We might share something like, “Chartwell Agency helps brands connect to their audiences with integrated communications for the health care, financial and education markets.”
Practice Your Delivery
Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. If you’re regularly asked to share information about your organization (like at a trade show, for example), you’ve probably delivered your elevator speech more times than you can count. Delivering the same line over and over again can create what I call “boring voice,” that flat, auto-pilot, unenthusiastic voice that happens when we stop actively thinking about our delivery. How do you battle “boring voice?” Here’s a trick! Try playing a little game common in acting classes – deliver that same line 20 different ways. Put the emphasis on a different word, use an accent, say it with a silly voice. The object is to say and hear the phrase differently, and to really think about ways to keep the elevators speech interesting. Remember, even though you’ve said it 100 times, it’s the first time your listener is hearing it.
These quick tips and tricks can help you make the most of elevator speech moments and ensure you seize every opportunity to share your message. Need help shaping an elevator speech? Give us a call – we’re happy to work with you to perfect yours!