An elevator speech is a brief persuasive pitch that describes and sells a person, product, service, or organization. As you may have guessed from the name, it should take no longer to deliver than it takes an elevator to deliver you to your floor (approximately 30-60 seconds).

When someone asks what you do, a well-crafted elevator speech can be a great marketing tool, providing an opportunity to describe what makes your business unique. If you don’t know what to say, you could lose a valuable opportunity.

Writing an Elevator Speech

Opening – In your opening, share what you do but present it as providing a solution to a problem. Make sure your opening is strong enough to grab their attention.

Example – “Americans spend an average of 23 hours per week on the internet, and many small businesses aren’t reaching those people. We build websites and help with internet marketing so small businesses can connect,” is better than just “we build websites.”

What Makes You Unique – Share what it is that makes you, your business, product or service unique.

Example – “Along with creating websites that are easy to navigate and optimized for search engines, we work to make them beautiful too, both on a computer and a mobile device. Each step of the build, we check in with clients to make sure that they like how their website looks and functions.”

Tell a Story – A good story can captivate listeners and persuade them much better than a hard sell.

Example – “A week after we finished a website for a naturopathic author, Oprah came across the website and invited the author to be on her show. Now the author is very rich, famous, and helping millions of people throughout the world.” Okay, I made that one up, but you get the idea.

Close with a Way to Continue the Communication – You might summarize your main points and hand the prospect a business card or brochure that leads to your website, where they can get more information. You might even suggest meeting over coffee.

Tips for Delivering Your Elevator Speech

  • Like I mentioned in Expand Your Networks, focus on developing relationships and filling needs rather than pushing a sale.
  • Practice your talk, so you can remember it and deliver it smoothly, but don’t let it sound rehearsed. Vary it, tailoring it for that particular audience.
  • If you need help with your speaking skills, consider joining a Toastmasters club.
  • At the end of your brief pitch, ask questions and engage in a two-way conversation. Take a genuine interest in the other person. As Dale Carnegie said, “to be interesting, be interested.”

If you’re looking for places to use your elevator speech, here are some suggestions.