Want a Killer Elevator Speech? Take The Steps!
It’s happened to the best of us. You’re at a networking event, someone asks what you do, and suddenly your tongue gets tied in knots. The most commonly prescribed solution to this problem is the “elevator speech,” that snappy explanation that quickly sums up you and your business.
Being prepared with an elevator speech is a good idea. The problem is it can often sound rehearsed, learned by rote, and not very compelling. Like an empty elevator, this type of canned response goes nowhere.
Devoting the time and energy it takes to unearth those genuine qualities that distinguish you and your company from others is a worthwhile investment that will result in an elevator speech that rolls off the tongue and might actually interest the listener. If it’s authentically you and not just a series of memorized phrases, it will ring true.
For most of us, articulating that thing that makes our product or service truly special isn’t so easy. While it’s not difficult to come up with descriptions like “great service,” “customer-focused,” “passionate about what we do,” etc., these are “best practices,” not differentiators. Any company worth its salt is doing these things all day, every day.
While it can be challenging, digging deep and hanging in there to find that thing that only you can deliver is well worth the effort. In his bestselling book, “Company of One,” author Paul Jarvis makes a strong case for the necessity of really nailing down that differentiator.
“People can copy skills, expertise, and knowledge, which are all replicable with enough time and effort,” Jarvis says. “What’s not replicable is who you truly are – your style, your personality – so lean on that in your work.”
Working with clients on their brand messaging, we collaborate to unearth that authentic uniqueness. Here are some steps you can take yourself to help you get started on this process.
– Audit yourself. Spend time thinking about your motivation, your “why,” and build outward from there.
– Audit your clients. They are usually happy to help and will provide useful input into how you help them solve their problems (you might even pick up some work).
– Talk to friends and family. They tend to have great BS detectors and sometimes know you better than you may know yourself.
– Check out the competition. Get an overview of what your competitors are doing. Do something else.
– Write. Writing about your business and your expertise is good for you and your business in countless ways.
In the end, it’s about expressing what makes you who you are in a succinct and authentic message that resonates. Performing these fundamental exercises will help you articulate your advantage and elevate your brand.