Making Great Connections Through Your Elevator Speech

How’s your elevator speech? Sometimes called a 30sec commercial, the very sound of the name, elevator speech, often brings with it feelings of discomfort and insecurity. Just like standing in an elevator with strangers, it’s tough sometimes to speak out in uncomfortable places and make the most of that very short amount of time. The “elevator” could just as easily be a line at the bank or even chit-chat at a party or gathering where you encounter people you may not know.

What if your greatest client or your best referral source is in that elevator? What would you say to them? How you respond could be the difference between making a great connection and losing potential business.

The mistake I often see people make when they are sharing what they do is that they talk about the features and the process of their product or service. This is not effective and it’s certainly not memorable, yet I hear it over and over especially at networking events.

This mistake leads to a bigger problem; listeners don’t resonate with features and processes and therefore it doesn’t spark a call to action on their part and potential business has slipped away from you.

I also recommend creating several elevator speeches. With a variety of speeches you won’t sound too scripted and you can mix them up according to your audience.

Here are four tips for creating a great elevator speech:

1. Share what’s important about what you do and why you love doing it.

2. Share a success story that one of your customers has achieved as a result of working with you or by using your product.

3. If they show genuine interest, offer to continue your conversation over lunch or even a phone meeting.

4. Ask if they would like you to stay in touch with them, if so, get their information and follow up the next business day.

Once you have your short conversation ready, practice it over and over until you are completely comfortable saying the words. Do this in front of a mirror or ask a good friend to critique you and offer advice. Make sure you are relaxed and be sure to smile.

Remember that speaking to people you don’t know is never easy. In fact, they may be more nervous speaking to you so putting them at ease will make what you have to say even more attractive to them.