Believe it or not, a common mistake made with elevator speeches is forgetting to say what our product or service is -clearly. We also forget to say how we’re relevant to the buyers or key stakeholders who should be concerned with our brand. We don’t tell the person who’s listening why they should care!
An elevator speech has impact when it is relevant. If I am looking for a mechanic, then telling me you are a successful doctor is not important to me. Likewise, if I am looking for a mechanic and you tell me what kind of auto repairs you do and how you work with customers (and I like what I hear!) then you become the focus of my attention! Whether you are introducing yourself at a business event, cocktail party or at a presentation to a potential client, an elevator speech has impact when it is:
Authentic and genuine. Speak from the heart.
Relevant. Speak to me as an individual. How does your work affect others? Why should I care?
Descriptive. Tell me what it is you do and how you do it differently.
Concise. Keep it short and sweet. Make me want to learn more!
Describe what you do in your speech, then describe how you do it. Do not repeat your job description, or the title you hold, or the number of years you’ve been in the job unless it makes you unique. Focus on what is it you do differently than your competitors. If you have a niche, tell me about it. The goal is to entice the listener to want to know more.
Jerry Smith says
Good points Lida – can’t tell you how often I hear the generalities like “We have been in business for 165 years” when such things are much more about the speaker than the listener. This is perhaps the most common elevator speech mistake – simply telling people what you do with no understanding of the issues your target audience is dealing with, and often times no clear target for the message even defined.
Authenticity is always important – passion for what you do, specifically who you help is key.
Lida Citroen says
Thank you, Jerry, for your feedback. Agreed that we often lead with the resume, but is that what people will remember about you? We need to consider that every new contact may know someone who may need to know us — why not create a positive experience and let them see our genuineness? They’ll likely remember that better than how many years we’ve been in business.
This advice is logical, but what would be easier for me would be examples of elevator speeches. Here’s the person’s talents, here’s their elevator speech. Do you have any sources for this?
I’ve just started a local blog myself. Now quite off the ground but working on it. Linked to you through BlogHer on Linkedin.
SM Joyner says
Enjoyed your article. I’ll be sure to promote you on my blog as well. People like to be heard and understood and making that connection is important. Your message is more likely to be received if the person your are talking to feels a connection with you.