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Delivering Your "Elevator Speech"

by Sandy Abell, Inside Jobs Coaching Company 

Your Elevator Speech is a self-introduction that you use in situations where you have only a few seconds to explain who you are and why the person you are meeting should do business with you. The name comes from the concept that you meet a person when you step into an elevator and only have the length of the elevator trip to catch their interest in the value of your business. This type of introduction is also referred to as your "30-second commercial." You prepare your Elevator Speech in advance so that you can easily and effectively use it at a moment's notice.

When delivering your elevator speech it's important to:
  • Make your elevator speech sound effortless, conversational, sincere and natural.
  • Be warm, friendly, confident, and enthusiastic, and speak in a strong, firm voice which expresses confidence.
  • Take it slowly, pause briefly between sentences. Remember to breathe. Project your passion for what you do.
  • Make your Elevator Speech sound effortless, conversational, sincere and natural.
  • Maintain eye contact with your listener.
  • Open a window to your personality. Let them see who you are.
  • Focus on your potential client and the benefits to him/her, not yourself. Emphasize how you can benefit them and help them solve their problems. The listener will be mentally asking, "What's in it for me (or my company)?"
  • Be prepared. Write and rewrite your speech, sharpening its focus and eliminating unnecessary words and awkward constructions.
  • Practice your speech. Experts disagree about whether you should memorize it, but you should know your speech well enough that you express your key points without sounding as though the speech was memorized. Let it become an organic part of you.
  • Consider including a compelling "hook," an intriguing aspect that will engage the listener, prompt him or her to ask questions, and keep the conversation going.
  • Use common words that your listener will comprehend and resonate with.
  • Speak clearly and succinctly. Be brief, be bold, be gone.
  • Pay attention to the listener's body language and be prepared to wrap up earlier than you were planning if you see the listener's eyes glazing over or interest waning.
  • Develop different versions of your Elevator Speech for different situations and audiences.
  • If they express interest, use examples and stories to help support your points. Provide examples of successful outcomes of deploying your skills. Stories make your speech memorable.
  • Include your competitive advantage, also known as your Unique Selling Proposition. In other words, how can you perform better than anyone else? What is the one reason they should want to hire you above all others?
  • End with an action request, such as asking for a business card, follow-up call or appointment.
  • Update your speech as your situation or potential clients change.

If you follow these tips, you can feel comfortable with your Elevator Speech and get the most from a brief contact with a new business acquaintance.

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