Your organization’s “Elevator Speech”

Whether you’re promoting an event, selling yourself as a professional, or pitching your company, it is important to have an “Elevator Speech.”  I had not heard of an “Elevator Speech” until I was a sophomore in college.  I was taking a sales class at DePaul University when we were given an assignment:  Pitch yourself to the class in 60 seconds or less.  Harvard Business School describes the challenge as, “You have one minute to explain yourself, your business, your goals, and your passions.  Your audience knows none of these.  Are you prepared?  Can you present your vision smoothly, enticing them to want to know more?”

Although I had always been able to think quickly on my feet during class presentations, I must admit I find it hard to rattle off my favorite movies or bands that quickly let alone come across as an eloquently spoken, prepared, and experienced young professional.  As we each stumbled to the front of the class, we learned a valuable lesson: It is important to be able to communicate clearly and concisely to whomever you meet.

I highly suggest crafting your elevator pitch with Harvard’s four main points, giving 15 seconds to each point: Who you are, What you do, Why you are unique, Describe your goal.  Be concise, use words and phrases that are universally understood, and most importantly – be confident.

As the students in my class pitched themselves in front of everyone, we noticed a trend.  Those students who got to the point and were poised came across the most able.  It is important to be able to get through your pitch without stumbling or saying fillers such as “um”.  With practice, running through our pitches to ourselves over and over, we each began to perfect our pitch.  By the end of the night we each were able to get through our pitch sounding professional and confident.

The elevator pitch can be used in a multitude of ways.  Create one for an upcoming event you are having, pitch a new campaign in 60 seconds or less, pitch yourself to a potential client in line at Starbucks.  The bottom-line is be a better communicator.  Test out your pitch on Harvard’s site.

I’ll leave you with this – Blogger Bo Barron suggests the five steps from Monroe’s Motivational Sequence to accompany and enhance your elevator pitch when trying to make a “sale”:

  1. Attention – Pique the interest of the intended listener.
  2. Problem – Determine the opportunity that is presented to you.  This may be presented as an issue that the listener is currently having that you may be able to resolve.
  3. Solution – Offer a solution that you can provide.  This will keep them interested in the conversation.
  4. Visualize – Encourage whomever you are pitching to visualize the solution you offered as a realistic situation.  They need to be able to envision their problem going away with your help.
  5. Action – In marketing we call this the “Call to Action”.  This is the time where you want to take the conversation from an idea to something that is in motion toward your end goal.  Give them your card. Ask for theirs.  Set-up a meeting.

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