Rise to the Top with a Fresh Elevator Speech

elevator speechAn elevator speech is that short and sweet 30-second answer to the question “What do you do?” In networking circles, it’s critical that your elevator speech is clear and interesting. If it’s not, people will be confused, and no one who is confused will know how to refer you to others.

The typical networker recites their elevator speech by listing everything they do. For example, I recently heard an insurance agent say, “We insure your auto, car, home, life, …” Well, I heard part of it. She listed a dozen more things – the kitchen sink may have been in there – and I bet some of those services haven’t been sold in years.

Tip #1: There’s no use in listing every single thing you do, so drop the laundry list.

I know that you want to make sure you don’t miss every opportunity. But this isn’t the result. The result is a buyer who tunes you out. All you have to mention is the service that gets 90% of your customers in the door. They’ll buy the rest when they get to know you better, so focus on the one thing that gets prospects in the door to become customers.

Another thing I see at networking meetings, especially with people brand new in their positions is presentation fright. They are so fearful they cannot get their message out with clarity, much less confidence. Fortunately, networkers are amazingly forgiving and polite, but unfortunately, very few people are going to buy from someone who is not confident.

Tip #2: Work with a coach to build your confidence before you attend networking meetings.

I know how everyone tells you how nice you are and how great you did. But if you are not getting sales, then the true message should be loud and clear: you need to exude confidence and positive energy about your product or service before anyone wants to hang out with you, much less buy from you.

A more subtle form of nervousness (or boredom) is when you deliver a fairly decent elevator speech, but it sounds like the 4 millionth time you’ve said it. One participant was looking all over the room, laughing in all the wrong places, and horsing around while perfectly executing her speech. Talk about gestures that didn’t match the message; our internal skeptic meter goes off when people are inauthentic.

Tip #3: Slow down, and regain the passion about what you do.

Another symptom of boredom (or nervousness) is to repeat your name, company, and phone or website so fast that no one can understand you or has time to write it down. A couple of remedies: practice pausing, rewrite your elevator speech so that you have a new one, and take some time off to re-kindle your excitement about what you do.

Could your elevator speech use a, well, lift? In a very short time, I’ll be announcing a new product that will help you collect every business card in the room with your punchy elevator speech. Stay subscribed; details coming soon.