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Category: ENTREPRENEURSHIP, The Entrepreneur

How to make an effective elevator speech
Written by Bulelwa Mdanyana
17 September 2012

You are in an elevator and you realise that the CEO of one of the companies you want to work for is right next to you, or you are attending a business function and you spot a potential client or investor. What do you do?

An elevator pitchelevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary that is used to quickly define a product, service, or organization in a simple manner.  Elevator speeches are supposed to grab anyone’s attention in less than a minute. Clients or investors often judge the viability of an idea and its owner by the quality of its elevator speech

You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression because the attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. In addition, most people are always busy and so you need to grab their attention quickly and give them a reason to listen in order to proceed to the next level.

What should an “Elevator speech” include?

An elevator speech should provide a clear description of your business and target market. Put your company’s major focus into one powerful sentence and describe your target market clearly.Give your elevator speech that extra shine by emphasizing why your company excels in its industry, why you would give superior service and give examples if possible.Establish an emotional connection that helps your investor remember your pitch and differentiate it from your competitors who also want a piece of the pie. The emotional connection stimulates your listener’s interest so he continues the conversation.


10 steps for putting together an effective elevator speech

1.    Write down what your business does

Write down a story that illustrates what you or what your company does. The story can be longer at this point because you will do the editing later – put all your ideas on paper and don’t worry at this point if they sound too crazy. 

 2.    Write down your objectives or goals

What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want to make a sale, gain financial support for an idea, or get a job or referral?

 3.    Write a few action statements

This is a statement or question designed to spur the action that is associated with your goal.

 4.    Record your pitch

You can use your cell-phone if you don’t have a recording device. Recording allows you to listen to yourself as you rehearse your speech, you will be able identify any mistakes and you can see how long or short it is.

5.    Leave it for a while

Come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears after a few days. You will be able to identify any mistakes you may have made and edit your work.

6.    Highlight the good stuff

Listen and read through what you’ve written and recorded - then highlight the phrases that hook you with clear powerful and visual words.

 7.    Put the best pieces together

Again you'll want to write down several versions of this much tighter pitch. Tell us what you do and why should people want to do business with you and record the new ones.

 8.    Do a final edit of your elevator speech

Cut as many unnecessary words as possible. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Remember, the goal is 30-60 seconds.

 9.    Let other people listen to it

Run it by as many people as you can get to listen to it.  Get feedback from colleagues, clients you trust, friends and family and ask them to give you their honest opinion.

 10. Write the final version of your speech

After gathering all the feedback, you are now ready to make the necessary changes. Take your final elevator speech and write it down. Memorize and practice it until it just slides off your tongue naturally.


Finally, remember to revise the pitch every few months. Your elevator pitch must evolve to reflect changes in your business and the industry. Always change your pitch to reflect a promising new product line, an exciting new market or the changing interests of the public. 


picture credit:madisonareajobtransi.wix.com

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