Elevator speeches aren’t just for elevators anymore. They are for introducing yourself to the world in a relevant way.
I will admit I have a love-hate relationship with my elevator pitch. As a business owner, having one is imperative. But, it is ever evolving which I love and hate. Even if you don’t own your own business, you could benefit from an elevator pitch. If you are a job seeker, an employee, a contractor, or a teacher, you need an interesting way to tell people what you do.
Is your elevator speech communicating what you want to the world? If you’re like most, the answer is “no”. Does it paint you as boring? Unprepared? Or is it innovative? Confident?
Here are the top three reasons most elevator speeches stink:
1. It’s generic
2. It’s boring
3. It is forgetable
A typical elevator speech might sound something like this-
“Hi! I’m Jane. I am a project manager at XYZ company. I’ve been there for 20 years. I coordinate efforts to make sure projects get done. That’s me in a nutshell.”
If you met Jane one evening among a dozen others, what would you remember about her? If she’s lucky and you have a photographic memory, you might remember she did something in project management. Most people would forget her.
You aren’t forgettable, so let’s make sure your elevator speech isn’t either. From now on, think of your elevator speech as your “Introduction”. You are introducing yourself to the world, so let us know the real you.
Turn your elevator speech from stinky to stellar with 3 easy tips
Tip #1: Detach yourself from your title.
When asked, “What do you do?”, most people respond with their title. “I’m a dentist, blogger, project manager, vice president of sales, etc.”. The problem with answering with your title is that everyone usually does that and it doesn’t make you stand out. It also doesn’t answer the question. What do you do? Do is an action word. Your title doesn’t communicate that, especially if you have an unconventional job title. My husband had the corporate job title of Black Belt at one point in his career. Unless you are familiar with quality, most of you would assume he was into martial arts. Your title is not who you are or what you do. It is just the title someone in some company came up with to distinguish your duties and pay scale from other people in your company. Even if you have a title that is well known, there are thousands of dentists, bloggers, project managers, etc. in town. What makes you different from the rest?
Tip #2: Focus on the pain people have and how you can solve it.
What do you do? If you are a business owner, here is where you can describe the problem your ideal client is having. If you are a job seeker, here is where you can describe a problem your ideal employer is having. The key is to describe a problem clearly and then show how you can solve that problem. By talking about the problem or pain you can help solve, you jump to the top of the referral list when others meet people. You make it easy for them by clearly describing what you do and the types of problems you solve.
Example of dos that work
Blogger: “I show husbands who are tired of hearing their wives say they aren’t romantic, how to be romantic on any budget.”
Consultant: “I work with managers with unmotivated employees ignite passion in their team so they happily do their work.”
Dentist: “I transform people who are embarrassed about their smile into confident people ready to take on the world.”
Job seeker: “I build scaleble and easy to maintain IT networks for companies who are growing so fast that their IT department can’t keep up.”
Tip #3: Show your passion or enthusiasm.
If you have it (passion that is) flaunt it! People want to be around people who are passionate. Let your elevator speech show your passion for your work or cause. I am a naturally passionate person, but when I started my own business I thought I had to tone down my passion to be more “executive” or “corporate” looking. Then I realized my passion is a part of my company brand. I can’t have a company called BRAVE and not take risks myself. Passion is memorable. Passion can leave an impression far deeper than any perfectly crafted message.
Using those tips, here is Jane’s new “introduction”:
“Hi, I’m Jane. For over 20 years, I’ve had the pure pleasure of saving my company millions of dollars by making sure our projects are on time and within our budget. It really is a blessing to make an impact like that.”
This new elevator speech isn’t plain. It tells what Jane does, how she does it, the results she’s gotten, and communicates her passion in doing it.
Let’s practice. Select one aspect of your work and type your new elevator speech in the comments.