What is an elevator speech and how do I give one?

An elevator speech is just that, an elevator speech.  This is the type of speech that you would give to a potential employer that you have been trying to get an interview with as you catch them getting in the elevator or walking down the hall.  An elevator speech has also been called an “elevator pitch”.  You may use this kind of speech to sell your product or services to a potential buyer or client.  You want this speech to be no longer than the ride in the elevator, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and you need to really be able to sell yourself in the time that it takes to get from the first floor to the top floor or vice versa.  Your elevator speech needs to be clear, consistent, compelling, and to the point.

Tips on writing an effective elevator speech:

  1. Know your audience. What are they looking for?
  2. Know yourself.   Why do they want you or whatever it is you are trying to sell?
  3. Make it exciting!  Make them think this is best the best thing they could ever have!
  4. Write it down and perfect it.  Eliminate useless information and keep it short and to the point.  It shouldn’t be more than 90 words long.
  5. Practice, practice, practice and more practice!  You want to have your elevator speech memorized so you can give it effectively and in the moment.

Here is an example of an elevator speech for a student trying to get a job:

“Hi, my name is Mary Jones. I am currently a sophomore student attending ABC college. My major is in business with a minor in art. I have volunteered with the student credit union throughout my first and sophomore year at college.

Last summer I completed an internship with The Museum of Modern Art, and I’m hoping to find an internship in finance this summer in the Boston area. I have always had an interest in art and I’m also finding that I have a knack for business. In the future I’m hoping to combine these two very different disciplines and find myself a career that includes them both.”

Here is an example of an elevator speech of someone trying to sell their services:

“I am Joe Smart and I am a partner at BPK&Z, a large local CPA and consulting firm. While we do the audit and tax work like everyone else, our real niche is some very high end work – serious tax savings, business valuations and litigation support, significantly improving business processes, closely held business advice, that sort of thing.”

You never know when you might need an elevator speech but having one prepared just might land you that dream job or top client!!!

By Tacita Dockins, Business Major, IUPUC

works cited:

http://www.ingenuitymarketing.com/pdfs/freetools/Ingenuity-ElevatorSpeeches.pdf

http://internships.about.com/od/networking/g/elevatorspeech.htm