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March, 2006
Your 16-Second Success:
The Elevator Speech

In the time it takes to ride an elevator with a stranger — sixteen seconds — you have the opportunity of a lifetime. You can break the ice and establish rapport with a stranger, introduce yourself and your business in a compelling and memorable manner, model your professionalism, showcase your uniqueness and even get asked questions. It's all done with your elevator speech – that pithy sound bite that positions you as powerful, focused, special, unique, and ready to partner with others for success. Just don't deliver yours in an elevator.

Let's face it, today everyone has  short attention spans. Nobody wants to hear your life story, or read your curriculum vita. All they initially want to know is:

  • Who you are
  • What you can do for them (not just what you do)
  • What is special, different or unique about you, vis-à-vis others
  • Whether there's a great fit between their needs, your products and services

It's all done with your elevator speech. Your challenge: crafting yours to truly reflect your brilliance, sample your style and build bonds with your listener.

Elements of Your Elevator Speech
  • Your Name
  • A tag line casting your profession in an ennobling light
  • Emphasis on some benefits, solutions or outcomes of the work you do
  • A question to draw out and qualify your listene

Note that you can assemble your elevator speech in a variety of ways. There is no mandated order of delivery.

Cast Your Profession in its Most Enobling Light:
Tag Lines Tell the Tale

Your elevator speech needs to be compelling. Use humor, alliteration, rhyme, powerful imagery, surprise or other elements to attract attention of your listener.

Forgo the usual job categories, SIC codes and bland introductions (I am an accountant) and create a tag line for yourself:

  • An etiquette instructor says "I show people how manners makes money and politeness produces profit"
  • A travel agent: "one of the few, the proud, the last remaining travel agents."
  • The IRS agent describes his occupation as "a government fundraiser."
  • The nutritionist: "teaches people how to behave…in front of food."
  • The commercial credit rep "…gives credit where credit is due…"
  • The Action photographer: "If it moves, I shoot it"

Now add some benefits to yours. Appeal to the self-interest of your listeners. How can you improve their business or life: make or save them money, save them time, help them feel better, live longer, or build their client base:

  • Patti Glick, the Foot Nurse, keeps Silicon Valley on its feet.
  • California-based management consultant Alyson Abramowitz  " keeps your company out of Dilbert's comic strip." Focus on the outcomes, benefits or end results of the work you do for others

Q's are Cues: From Speech to Conversation

Append a question to yours to draw out and qualify your listener. The nutritionist asks "would you like to eat less and enjoy it more?" The travel agent asks "where would you like to go on your next trip?" Ask questions to ascertain whether a good fit exists for future business.

Deliver yours with confidently, credibility and with flair. Give good eye contact, speak conversationally and use yours to engage your listener and induce dialog. Consider exchanging business cards, handing them a brochure, a tchochkie or other item before parting company. And of course, ask them to tell you about themselves.

Push All The Right Buttons

When you push the right buttons with your elevator speech, the doors to success will be opening any second.

Tao of Networking

Bypass Gatekeepers to close Decision-Makers

Improving your workplace communication quotient
Order Craig's special report:
Improving Your Communication Quotient

Professional speaker Craig Harrison founded Expressions of Excellence!™ to help professionals express their sales and service leadership. Order his tips booklet on elevator speeches through www.ExpressionsofExcellence.com

His elevator speech: "I turn aspirations into achievements. I am a motivational humorist and an evangelist for better sales, better service and improved communication. I help people express their excellence. Tell me, how are you expressing yours?"

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To schedule an engagement,
contact Craig by email: Craig@ExpressionsOfExcellence.com
or by phone: (510) 547-0664.

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