To have an effective elevator speech, you must do the most obvious. You must write it out and get it on paper, first and foremost. As to what you must write, you need to answer the question, “So, what do you do?” Your written answer should be 4 but no more than 6 sentences. Generally a speech of this length will take about 30 seconds.
As for the answer, you always have 2 routes to follow. And surprisingly, it follows the sale approach (it must be my background, because it seems everything keeps going back to sales). You can speak about what you do, that is, “I am a retail store manager.” This is somewhat like talking about the features of a product, you.
Wow, this LCD TV has 1080p resolution with a frequency of 240HZ. It’s got HD Dolby, surround, upside, bifocal, bifurcated sound, blah, blah, and more blah. This is taking about the features. This is talking about the job you do.
In any sales presentation, the death of a sales pitch comes from hammering on the features of what you are selling.
Let us review quickly, no one buys the features. So what would be different with selling you?
Not to belabor the obvious, but what people buy are the benefits. When you can answer, “what’s in it for me,” then you are on the path to closing the sale.
A person spends an extra 200 or 500 bucks for 1080p, because it provides clarity and crispness that pulls you into the TV and makes you a part of the picture. From the minute details to the crystal clear audio, a 1080p TV envelopes and enhances the complete viewing experience. You don’t watch a tropical waterfall in Hawaii; you might as well be sitting under the waterfall, that’s the realism.
Or something to that effect – the point is – you buy the benefits.
So, when you write the answer; you must think of what the benefits are to who you are. Is it that you are just “a retail store manager” or “retail professional skilled at developing a solutions to consumers needs and demands?”
As you write out your answer; you may actually end up with a long, or a very long paragraph. That’s fine; the key is to write a narrative that speaks to what you have to offer versus simply a verbal resume of the jobs you have held.
Once you have written out your statement, your next series of tasks will be to:
- Rewrite it to the way you speak.
- Condense and eliminate repetitive statements.
- Rehearse and modify any sentences that sound “canned.”
- Time yourself only after you have a paragraph that conveys your full thoughts.
- We don’t always speak in full sentences and make use of a lot of contractions, so use those techniques to get your speech under 30 seconds.
- If your speech is under 30 seconds, do not add fillers to get it to 30 seconds. Shorter is sweeter, so long as you fully convey the benefits of you.
Writing an effective elevator speech should take thought and effort. It should not be an off the cuff, throwaway effort. Physically writing out the speech as a first step is the right step.