What is an Elevator Speech?

When somebody asks what you do for a living, your Elevator Speech is the concise answer to that question. It should explain very briefly what you or your company does as well as spark the interest of your listener.


Why do you need an Elevator Speech?

A good Elevator Speech allows you to explain and demonstrate the value that you and your business bring to the table. It can give you a chance to very briefly introduce the products, services, expertise, and experience that you offer, and tells your listener why they should pay attention to you. If done correctly, it can get you noticed and set you apart from the competition.


When should you use an Elevator Speech?

There are many situations in which having a prepared description of yourself and your work can be helpful. Anytime you meet potential employers or potential clients, they are going to expect you to explain and justify your value. Being able to quickly describe the work you’ve been doing can be helpful in rekindling relationships with past clients or employers. Even encounters with strangers present the opportunity for useful connections if you are able to spark their interest. In all of these situations, having a short speech that you’ve practiced will help you avoid drawing blank when asked about who you are and what you do.


What are the Elements of an Elevator Speech?

The goal of your address is to describe yourself or your business in as concise of a manner as possible. Because of this, your Elevator Speech should take no longer than 30 seconds. Within 10 sentences, you should address the following questions:

  • Who are you and where do you work? Or, what is the name of your business?
  • What does your business do? What problems do you solve? What do you offer? This is a good place to be specific, but beware of providing too many details. Hone this part of the speech to be as succinct as possible.
  • What sets you apart from the competition? What makes you or your company unique? Why should your listener pay attention to you? Why should they remember you over anybody else?
  • End with a question or a goal. In some situations, the goal of an Elevator Speech could be to spark a conversation. Ending your address with an open ended question gives your listener a chance to respond. Think about how your businesses relate to each other and how you could be of use to one another. Show that you are interested in them and what they bring to the table. If you are using your speech as a preface to asking for something (i.e. an interview, an appointment, etc.) make sure that this goal is clear at the end of your address so that your listener is clearly aware of your objective.


Tips and Tricks

  • Practice your elevator speech out loud so that you can hear the way it sounds. Try recording yourself and playing it back.
  • Practice in front of a mirror so that you can take note of your body language. Your goal is to look relaxed, confident, and open.
  • Practice in front of other people. They can offer advice on the pacing of your speech as well as give you tips on what information they thought was either interesting or unnecessary.
  • While you want to practice your speech enough so that you are comfortable with it, you also want to make sure that it doesn’t sound overly rehearsed. Allow time for natural pauses and breaks in your dialogue so that it doesn’t sound like you are simply regurgitating a series of sentences that you have memorized.