Perfect Your Elevator Speech

By Marty Park, special to Overdrive and president of Evolve Business Group

How do you respond when someone asks ‘what do you do?’ There are a couple of key things to consider and unfortunately most people do it wrong. Most people just answer the question: their role, company they are with and products/services they offer.

Unfortunately, they stop there and it results into something like:

“My name is John, I work for Johnson Manufacturing, we make kitchen countertops and pre-fab stone structures.”

Wow! Gripping! Who wouldn’t walk away from John after this uninspiring speech?!

This is where the elevator speech comes in. Basically it is your short window of opportunity (similar to a ride in an elevator) to educate someone on what you do in a way that is inspiring, intriguing and begs for questions to be asked!

1. Start with what you offer: Your audience is judging whether they want to keep talking to you based on what is in it for them. So tell them.

2. Make it sound exciting: Don’t just manufacture something – own the industry, be cutting edge, hold a record. Your tone of voice will also say everything you’re not – BE excited, smile and share your passion and energy!

3. Ask a question: Engage people in order to get them talking about what you do and what they need. Make it an open ended question not a yes/no answer.

A replay on John’s speech should be more like this:

“My name is John, I turn people’s kitchen into works of art that make having dinner parties thrilling for our customers. I work with Johnson Manufacturing and we lead the industry in creativity. When was the last time you had your kitchen upgraded?”

Final tip: Practice it! Moving to a new, interesting elevator speech is awkward for most people. Repeat it to yourself 50 times, then 20 times to other people and then take it out to the next meeting or networking event.


Categories: Networking


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