I had the opportunity to watch a friend and speaker, Fred Miller,
http://www.NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com deliver a great talk recently on how to craft an elevator speech.
The elevator speech, as defined by Wikipedia, is a pitch, speech, or statement used as a short summary to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.
It says the name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.
The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator is interesting and value adding, the talk will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting. If not, the two will go on their way.
In most cases today the elevator speech is commonly used at networking events, chamber of commerce meetings, and other business functions.
Those of us who attend dozens of these events on a regular basis hear hundreds of these introductions per year. Some, who may use Fred’s model or something similar, do a good job of explaining what they do and communicate their value proposition. Others sort of stumble through it and don’t really create a hook or reason to elicit further conversation.
Then there are those who really don’t have an elevator speech at all. Instead they are more apt to introduce themselves, hand you a business card, ask what you do and walk away. Nothing is really communicated. No follow-up action is prompted.
Savvy businesses should make “Networking 101” part of their basic sales training. The objective is to carry over the firm’s mission and unique selling proposition into a nice 30-60 second conversational package.
This can be accomplished by analyzing your web site, standard sales pieces, and marketing materials.
These materials can yield some nice nuggets of what makes your business unique and why clients hire your firm.
Then you can meld in that information with your name and your own personal expertise.
Once you feel comfortable make sure to write it all down. Then time it for length. A standard rule in broadcast copy writing is that about 7 to 7 ½ lines equal 30 seconds. 15 Lines should equal around sixty seconds when spoken at a normal pace.
Once you are pleased with the end result make sure to test it out. You can role play it a few times with a colleague or close business associate. This gives you a chance to fine tune your speech before taking it public.
As companies spend thousands of dollars per year on brand building efforts they should also ensure their team is adequately prepared for short but valuable introductions with prospective clients.
The goal is to maximize the selling effort and communicate value no matter when, where and how long these golden opportunities occur.