The Dreaded Elevator Speech?

leadership development program

At a meet & greet recently…

There was a lot of ‘nervous energy’ and ‘anxiety energy’ flowing when people started talking about what they do! Everyone is trying to put them-selves in the best light possible and persuading others to look at their services. And it is more stressful than giving a speech!

We all want to make a good first impression, but “telling and selling” ourselves to as many people as possible in networking environments can actually produces the opposite effect. With everyone competing for ‘air space’, and wanting to get their ‘say’ in, most people tune out! Let the other person speak first, thereby gaining their attention. Listen carefully and….

“Listening to understand”

By listening to understand and asking questions will get help you get the results you want by helping others.

That truth was deeply reinforced in my heart while attending a recent meeting of young corporate business leaders and owners. Before the meeting, we had the opportunity to individually network, and had another opportunity during the meeting to describe to everyone what we do.

The purpose of a powerful ‘Elevator Speech’ is to express what you do in such a way that the listener perceives enough value by asking more questions or starting a dialogue with you.

Authenticity is the key to success.

Establishing rapport is the key to achieving this objective and the following exercises will help you think about and write your speech.

In order to become more effective, you need to think of how what you provide (service or product) helps people and what are the stated benefits by your current and past clients that the service or product provides.

Your energy when delivering your elevator speech, remember it needs to be engaging, friendly and inviting, this will help build rapport between you and the listener. At all costs avoid over the top energy or any aggressive behavior, as this will destroy rapport very quickly.

Remember sharing your elevator speech is a means of establishing rapport this is the beginning of the communication and business process.

The key points to remember about the listener of today is, they are very sophisticated and cynical. To unintentionally mislead them will ultimately produce negative results. The listener is interested in your values and what your actions represent. They listen clearly to what you say and how you say it.

Your Elevator Speech….

Firstly; it’s not about you! More importantly it is about how you help others. Tell a short story of ‘how’ you have helped others. Then listen not talk.

I make this point in my workshop:

When I focus on ME             I INCREASE MY ANXIETY

When I focus on YOU           I DECREASE MY ANXIETY

This ties in with the simple wisdom of “listening to understand”. How? Don’t talk about you or your product and get the results you want! Here’s how the principle worked for me.

Upon introducing myself, I simply asked, “Can I ask what you do?” Listening intently to the response, I then asked more questions, most of them based on the answers I got. (In fact, I listened so hard to one person’s avalanche of features about their service; it felt as if my ears hurt!)

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *