What Makes a Great Elevator Speech?

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Do you know what makes a great elevator speech?

An elevator pitch, or elevator speech, is a short, persuasive introduction to a person, product or idea. Designed to be delivered in a short elevator ride, it’s one of the most difficult presentations to give. Can you tell your story in 118 seconds or less?

The deepest blue tropic sea doesn't look this invitingAll good speeches (elevator or otherwise) require knowledge of your audience, your subject matter, and some ENERGY behind the delivery.

For a great elevator pitch, or a great elevator speech, there are three things you need to know. Follow these steps, and you will be engaging to your listener, you will speak with passion, and you will create action.

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Download a printable copy of these great elevator speech tips here – one page .pdf format

TIP #1. What Makes a Great Elevator Speech? YOUR REAL STORY
The secret of a great elevator speech is to speak with authentic conviction. What is authentic conviction, you may ask? Well, first of all, being authentic is the goal of all good storytellers; you have to be yourself. Truth is always the best source for our stories, if we want others to be moved by our words. Your audience wants to know you – they want to know who you are and what matters to you. How clear and honest are you going to be, when it’s time to stand and deliver?

It’s a short speech, so you have to make what matters matter. Ask yourself: What is important to you? What are you passionate about?

Commit to your subject in an authentic way, and there’s no one in the world that won’t stop and take notice.

TIP #2. CONVEY YOUR REAL VALUE
Elevator pitches have to contain a value proposition of some kind. What’s yours? Choose the words that will help you most. There is always a need for a new solution and an improvement to the status quo – what’s your vision for the future, for the customer, for the company?

TIP #3. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE.
Most people introduce a person or product based on the past (“Here’s what I’ve done”, “Here’s what the product has done for General Electric”, etc.) A laundry list of features and benefits is a boring as last week’s newspaper – don’t go there! Instead:

If you’re going to take the time to paint a picture for someone… the future is much more interesting. How are things going to be better, with you in the picture?

What you’ve done is not as important as what you can do for someone. What is the difference that you can make, for a customer, an employer, or your team? And why is that contribution important to you? If you want to know what to talk about in an elevator pitch, don’t focus too much on the past, or your achievements. What you’ve done is great, I’m sure, but your listener wants to know:

What are we going to do, together?

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