Great Elevator Speech techniques
How to make a lasting impression in less than a minute. In this article you will find out what, why, where, when, to whom, and how to prepare the “perfect” elevator speech.
What is an “Elevator Pitch”?
An “Elevator Pitch” is a short, carefully designed and well-rehearsed description of what you or your company does, that even your little sister would be able to understand perfectly.
What an “Elevator Pitch” is not:
It is not a “sales pitch.” Don’t get caught up in using the entire pitch to tell the person how great your product or service is. That is pitfall #1
An “elevator speech” is a short description of what you do, the point you want to make and the lasting impression you will create, in less than a minute. It could also be used in any place where an impromptu encounter happens.
The odd situation we encounter in most elevators is that nobody talks or looks at anyone else, and yet we have a captive audience for that short period of time.
The idea of an “elevator speech” is to have a prepared presentation that grabs attention and says a lot in just a few words. By telling your core message, you will be marketing yourself and/or your business in a way that will make them want to know more about you.
It is imperative to work on this one minute presentation until it is perfectly designed.
Make it such a part of you that if someone woke you up in the middle of the night and asked you what you do, you would without hesitation jump out of bed and dazzle them with your brilliant “elevator speech”!
Where do I use my speech other than an elevator? Typically, it comes in handy when you attend an event, a conference, a convention, or some other types of networking events.
You will notice that one of the first questions people ask is what you do. “Oh, I’m a lawyer … or an accountant … or a consultant … or an artist…” They will often say, “Oh, that’s great,” and immediately label you with all of the stereotypes these occupations evoke.
However, if you turn your message around and start with an answer like, “I work with small businesses that are grappling with computer problems,” right away — especially if they own a small business — their ears will perk up and they will want to know more.
To whom do I perform my “elevator speech”? The more often you give your short speech, the better it will become. You will have so much fun experiencing the unique reactions to what you are saying, you will easily be able to add enthusiasm and energy to the story.
I suggest taking advantage of a wide variety of gatherings and networking events. And, don’t worry, if your “elevator speech” isn’t smooth, easy, or natural in the beginning. If you stick with it, you will find that it gets better and better, and before long, you will be getting a surprising amount of business — or, at least a number of contacts who want your business card and to stay in touch. You will also be remembered.
The elevator pitch is not the hurried presentation of a full-blown business plan. It’s an introduction, an overview and a pitch, designed to capture the attention of your audience.
1. Keep it short. Be succinct. According to countless studies an adult’s attention span is eight seconds, so be sure to give just enough information (and more importantly perhaps the right information) so that after only hearing a sentence or two, someone knows what you do — and if it’s a pitch, what you need.
2. Have a hook. “The objective of the first ten or fifteen seconds is to have your prospect want to listen to the next forty-five or fifty seconds differently, more intently than they would have otherwise.”
3. Don’t forget the pitch. It’s easy to get so caught up in the details of who you are that you neglect to mention what you need. What amount of financing are you seeking, for example.
4. Don’t overwhelm with technical or stats. And don’t fill your elevator speech with numbers, clichés or jargon.
5. Practice. Rehearse your elevator pitch so that when the opportunity to give it comes, you can deliver it smoothly
6. Be involved in the startup community before you pitch. Business Insider suggests “Engaging in online discussions, writing insightful blog posts, and participating in the relatively small startup community can earn you a ‘strong presence’ that gets you noticed by potential investors.” Building relationships with investors before pitching to them will help your success.
7. Listen. When seeking to build strong networks, remember it can be just as important to listen as it is to talk.
Creating the “Elevator Pitch”
Six questions your “Elevator Pitch” must answer:
- What is your product or service?
Briefly describe what it is you sell. One sentence only.
- Who is your market?
Briefly discuss who you are selling the product or service to. What industry is it? How large of a market do they represent?
- What is your revenue model?
More simply, how do you expect to make money?
- Who is behind the company?
Tell them a little about you and your team’s background and achievements.
- Who is your competition?
Briefly discuss who they are and what they have accomplished. Successful competition is an advantage-they are proof your business model works.
- What is your competitive advantage?
You need to effectively communicate how your company is different and why you have an advantage over the competition. A better distribution channel? Key partners? Proprietary technology? A better pool of talent?
- Includes the above mentioned points. Write them down.
- Is not a hard sales pitch.
- Is concise and on track: a 30-second elevator speech is ideal, but definitely shoot for under 60 seconds.
- Is memorable, leaving your audience with something valuable to take away from your conversation.
- Has a hook to entice your listeners to hear more.
- Needs to be practiced so your delivery doesn’t sound forced.
- Feels friendly, passionate and sincere.
- Must be delivered at a good pace and flow naturally.
- Breath, pause, and smile where appropriate.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Speak clearly, even when nervous.
- Act confidently, no matter the circumstances.
- Stop, if you feel you’ve lost audience interest. Gather your thoughts, breathe…and pick it up where you left off.