Have an Elevator Speech

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Albert Einstein
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive synopsis that you use to create interest in your issue, a project, or an idea. It is called an elevator message because you should be able to articulate your message in the time that a short elevator ride would take.

How do you create a message that can be delivered in 30 seconds or less? First, remember that the goal is not to try to squeeze as much information as possible into your 30 seconds. What you are trying to do is to give someone one compelling idea to think about (or if you’re really successful, act on) that relates to your cause.

I am always saying that the usually unspoken questions at the heart of many conversations are: 1) what’s in it for me; and 2) what’s it going to cost? Self-interest motivates people. This is important to remember when thinking about your message.

I recommend trying to create an elevator speech in just five sentences or phrases:

  1. Say who you are (Hi, I’m John).
  2. Get their attention (shocking or surprising data point or something that speaks directly to commonly shared values).
  3. Note your group’s ultimate goal and general strategy (“We work to end (issue) by (one or two primary strategies.”).
  4. State succinctly how that benefits the listener.
  5. Share how can they find out more information.

Some more tips:

  1. Use natural language. Practice your speech aloud, and at a conversational pace.
  2. It should not sound “memorized.”
  3. Read the room. Depending on your audience, you may need to have more than one benefit ready to explain.
  4. If you are part of an organization, or an organized group, you should not all be delivering identical messages.
  5. Practice often with friends and allies.