1. What is Elevator Speech?
An elevator speech is a clear, brief message or introduction about you, an idea, the team, or a company. It communicates who you are, what you are looking for and how the other person can benefit. Its typically 1-2 minutes. Is mainly one-way. The name comes from the notion that the speech comes in a short time just like an elevator ride.
Powerful ways to use your Elevator Speech:
Let us look at an interview where you are introducing yourself with an elevator speech.
- Step 1: Greet and introduce your name.
- Step 2: Have a good handshake and maintain a good eye contact while speaking.
- Step 3: Share relevant experience/ achievement that the person would be interested.
- Step 4: Have a newspaper headline: think about your most unique selling point to this person.
Here is an example of an Elevator Speech:
“Hi! I am Nishi Sarna. I am a Network Consultant for the last 3 years. Before that, I worked for three Reliance businesses in India for 5 years. I am known for delivering highly secure and reliable networks.”
2. How to structure an Elevator Speech?
You want to convince your boss for a new idea which can save your company $20,000 per annum. How do you structure it?
- Step 1: What is it about?
- Step 2: Why is it important? Be clear specific and use data. Think about how it will impact the business the team and the customer.
- Step 3: Why should this person care? What is in it for them?
- Step 4: What will success look like in the future when we have achieved what you are asking for? The future should be clear specific, and action based. It is not about describing benefits achieved in the future it is about visualizing the future. What will people be saying, doing, feeling in the future once you have reached the destination?
- Step 5: What specifically do you want this person to do? For example, attend a call, approve a budget, give you 15 minutes to discuss it further, convince others, empower someone with authority etc.
- Step 6: What can they count on from you?
Steps 1-4 can be in any order. You want to pick out the most exciting information to hook your listener. For example, that could be a fact of some large loss that you are facing or crisis or it could be a future that you envision which will inspire a call to action.
- I have an idea that could save $20,000. Do you have a minute I would like to talk to you?
- Picture this, six months from now you will see…
- I can help you save $100,000 per annum. Do you want to know how?
- If we are not able to fix the process, we could lose $200,000 in revenue.
A sample Elevator Speech:
Every year, the Association of Talent Development (ATD) has an international convention with more than 8,000 participants from over 40 countries. This year it has become digital.
This conference has workshops on the latest learning and development techniques, includes legendary speakers like Marshall Goldsmith and Ken Blanchard. Plus, it is an opportunity to network and exchange best practices.
By attending, it will help us in three ways:
- New content for internal soft skills courses
- Benchmark our training and pick up best practices from other companies
- Attend a relevant certification workshop
Within six months, our training programs will be more digital, impactful, have cutting edge content and our training team re-energized with smiles on their faces and people talking about how much training has improved.
I need an approval for one participant to attend the virtual convention and one online certification course. This would mean an expenditure of approximately $3500.
Based on performance, I will recommend one person in my team, who really deserves it. He/ She will come back and train everybody else.
How did it sound to you? If you were the business leader would you approve it? I would.
Importance of Headings & Data points in an Elevator Speech:
People are poor listeners. We listen with 25% efficiency. That is why when we first walk up-to someone she may be deep in thought and we want their complete attention. Therefore, it is good to you use, do you have a minute? or Is it a good time to talk, as an opening line.
In addition, you need to help your listener by giving good headings such as:
- There are three reasons why. One…two…three…
- Here is what it is about
- What success will look like
- What do I need from you
- Here is what I can do
2-5 relevant data points added in between what it is about, why is it important, and what success would look like. Data is tangible and stays in the listeners mind. Leaders need numbers to make decisions. Mostly everything can be quantified it just takes homework. However, a lot of people struggle to obtain data points for their elevator speech. Let us look at a scenario:
- In a global company a business leader in India made a case with the country HR (Human Resource) to offer additional money to an employee for cancer treatment. The employee’s corporate health insurance had finished as she started her second treatment. The first time around the request was rejected, saying if we do it for one, we will have to do it for all. Realizing the importance of data, the manager contacted 15 HR colleagues in other company entities. The data was an eye opener. Over 5 years 5 employees had been given additional money beyond their health insurance. So, the hypothesis that giving to one will lead to giving to all was proven incorrect and was shared with the HR leader. This time around her request was approved.
‘Where there is a will there is a way’ – this is very apt for almost every situation where we feel we do not have data. Commit to it and you will find it.
3. How to deliver an Elevator Speech?
Once you know what you want to say you need to focus on how you will deliver your message. There are three communication styles:
Passive : when you appear less sure of yourself and underconfident.
Assertive: When you look confident and are respectful of others.
Aggressive: When you come across as rude, overbearing and dominating.
Elements of your body language and vocal tone can make you appear passive, assertive, or aggressive.
3.1 The 3 types of Body Language: Passive, Assertive & Aggressive
You want your body language to be assertive. Here is a chart showing passive, assertive and aggressive body language.
|Eye contact||Less direct. Looks up or away often when he/she speaks. Looks like he/she is searching for words.||Direct and blinks once in a while||Direct and never blinks|
|Head||Tilted downward or sideways||Straight and not tilted||Chin tilted upwards|
|Hands||Closed, Shaking or Swinging hands. Behind back. Repetitive hand gestures.||Uses hands to make a more meaningful communication.|
Hand gestures are unique and not repetitive. Frequently uses open palms.
|Locked hand/s around body or behind back.|
Points one finger often and fast.
Little or no hand gestures.
Talk with hands using linear motions.
|Sitting Posture||Leans backwards or leans extremely far forward as if bowing.||Sits upright and straight or leans slightly forward.||Sits upright and straight but has less personal distance between self and camera/others.|
|Habit||Hand crossed on leg creates a barrier and looks less confident.||Shaking of leg (shows restlessness or impatience).|
|Standing Posture||Hunches over. Stands with weight on one leg or the other. Shifts weight frequently between both legs.||Stands upright with feet equally balanced.||Stands upright and very straight as if towering over. Standing with your feet too far apart.|
|Face||Relaxed calm facial expressions. But, not animated and more serious with less smiling.||Smiles frequently. Looks empathetic. Has warm facial expressions.||Looks profoundly serious. Rarely smiles and face looks flat.|
3.2 The 3 types of Word Choice: Passive, Assertive & Aggressive
|Sentences beginning with I statements|
|Less use of I statements||Frequent use of I statements||Overuse of “I” statements and “You” statements.|
|Repeated words and fillers||Many repeated words and fillers (um, ah, you know, etc.)||No fillers are used.||Very crisp and to the point. No fillers are used.|
|Duration of talk.|
|Long||Appropriate length||Noticeably short length.|
|Data is used.|
|Less data used and sounds tentative with maybe, approximately, we will try, etc.||Several important data points are used which add strength to message.||Data points focused on bottom line.|
|Words often used|
|· Think about it|
· Take your time. Think it over.
· Help you out; help me out
· Logical, step-by-step
· Trust me
· Here are the facts
· The data shows
· No risk
|· I need…|
· Explores both needs
· Picture this.
· Asks questions to understand your need
· Lead the field
· Be the best
· Bottom line
· Fast, Now
· New & unique
3.3 The 3 types Vocal Tone: Passive, Assertive & Aggressive
|Pitch||Really high pitch||Moderate pitch||Deep/Low pitch|
|Rate of Speech|
|Very slow rate of speech|
|Moderate rate of speech||Extremely fast rate of speech|
(manual or drop)
|Less clarity. Words maybe mumbled and soft.|
|Easy to understand every word. Volume is the right level.||Easy to understand every word but volume is louder.|
|Modulation||Voice is flat in tone.|
|Voice has ups and downs and emphasizes on different words with good pauses.||Voice has a commanding tone and is flat.|
Summarizing, your elevator speech has 6 parts:
- What is it about?
- Why is it important?
- Why should I care?
- What would success look like?
- What do you need from me?
- What can I count on from you?
Remember it is not only what you say but it is also how you say it, that is critical.
Here are three closing tips for your elevator speech:
- Use assertive language. State what you need from the other person. For example, I need 15 minutes of your time to discuss this further. Avoid rambling and asking for permission. You need to sound confident and that you believe you can do it.
- Your last three or four sentences are paramount. Your listener will be greatly influenced by how you close.
- Offer something on the table that you can do as part of your own commitment such as, finishing the deliverable by a certain date or committing a large percentage of your time etc.