The August issue of Toastmaster magazine features an article written by a woman whose profession involves developing “the voice of experts who want to broaden their impact”. In the article she speaks about the marketing tool known as ‘The Elevator Speech’.
Of course, the context does not have to be in an elevator. The concept covers all such occasions like in an elevator, wherein you find yourself for about thirty seconds with a person you’ve wanted to meet, looking to plant the seed for some kind of working relationship. Moreover, it’s going to be a first impression, so it better be good.
The speech component of the concept means that, while improvisational skills are valuable and necessary, this is not the best time to apply them liberally. Having a thirty second verbal marketing message puts one in the driver’s seat of making the desired point. Maybe the other person is a potential fellow investor, the CEO of a company you want to reach – or anyone worth trying to evoke a ‘win-win’ relationship.
Being prepared with the thirty second talk doesn’t mean it should be stiff or totally scripted. It’s important to have a conversational style.
Her three guidelines are:
- Noting that “The most important part of your elevator speech is the first sentence”, ensure it contains a synopsis of how one can be helpful in relation to what the other does or is interested in; the overall effect should be compelling enough to spur discussion
- Tell a (very) short story that demonstrates one’s one motivation, helping to establish a connection and build rapport
- Start dialogue by concluding with an open-ended question; the ultimate goal “is to learn about the person you are meeting and how you might help him or her”
Remember, good things can happen when preparation meets opportunity.