From entrepreneurs and career seekers to sales pros, everyone needs a great elevator pitch. If you don’t already know what an elevator pitch is, here is a definition: An elevator speech is a short, 30-second or less verbal picture of what you do and what you have to offer others. The entire precept behind an elevator speech is to get someone to want to know more. Consider this to be sort of like a personal commercial or a teaser of what you are all about.
If you’ve used elevator speeches in the past, then you may want to start developing a new one for yourself, because there’s a good chance you are using an outdated one. Your elevator speech may not be serving you as well, because you are not as enthusiastic about sharing it with others. Without passion behind it, even a well-rehearsed elevator pitch can fall flat.
Here are Dale Carnegie’s recommended elements of creating and delivering an elevator speech– because it’s time for a new and improved one. (Source: USA Today, Sept 2011)
- Preparation is key. Take the time to actually sit down and write down who you are, what you represent, and what makes you unique. This is critical to developing an accurate and compelling elevator speech. By being prepared, you will also be confident when the time comes to present this to others.
- Practice the speech. It may sound silly at first, but your best course of action after you have drafted your elevator pitch is to practice it in front of a mirror. Read your elevator speech out loud, listening for anything that sounds odd or over the top. Then ask a friend or family member to give you feedback too.
- Presentation is critical. Your voice and how you project your voice can make or break even the best elevator pitch, so you’ll also want to practice this. Start by standing tall, eyes focused on listeners in front of you. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm and open your hands and arms up, to create a welcoming and confident stance.
- Build credibility. Once you have delivered your elevator pitch, feel free to share something about your experience that demonstrates your expertise in your field. This could be your education, your work experience, or any published works you may have. Remember, you must stand out from others and intrigue them for an elevator pitch to work well.
- Connect with listener. The key to a great elevator speech is being able to really connect with your audience. This means finding a common ground and taking advantage of this. Share an interesting story with those who seem to be interested in you, and let the other person talk and share to find out more. Remember, the more the other person talks at this stage, the easier it will be to discover something you have in common.
For more tips about communicating well and delivering elevator speeches, consider the benefits of taking a Dale Carnegie course – a trusted source of training and information for business and sales professionals for over 100 years.