Tips on Writing Your Elevator Speech

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Your elevator speech should sell the sizzle, not the steak. It should arouse an emotional appetite or intellectual curiosity for your product, service or person, and lead to an action that positions you to pitch and sell later. For example, write your speech to secure an appointment with your listener, get a lead to one of his contacts, establish your authoritativeness, or lure him into your trade booth or website.

Keep your remarks brief and direct. Your elevator pitch should only run from 30 seconds to three minutes long. A 30-second spiel roughly translates to 80 to 90 words and eight to 10 short sentences.

Include a self-introduction, a description of the value you offer and a call-to-action. Make your listener the center of attention throughout. Using an example or story, demonstrate how your offering can address her concerns or desire for improved health, wealth, relationships or quality of life.

Compellingly describe your market and line of work. For example, "We transform ordinary business owners into extraordinary online experts." Follow this with intriguing information that draws your listener in. For example, "One of our clients now makes as much money online as in his regular business," or "Studies show that millions of people scour the web for expert advice, 24/7. In four simple steps, we connect experts with folks who are willing to pay online for such expertise. Our clients earn revenue even while they sleep." Next, segue into the subject of your listener. For example, "What do you do?" followed by, "Out of curiosity, have you ever tried marketing your expertise online?" If your listener shows interest, exchange business cards and suggest a meeting to continue the discussion.

Use action words. Instead of saying, "I am a mechanical engineer," describe what you do. For example, "I design" or "I create." Describe your process as a series of steps. For example, "I help home owners cut roughly 45 percent of their energy consumption in five steps."

Create variations of your elevator speech to suit different situations and listeners. For instance, create a generic speech for folks you meet at a social function, and a more specialized version for conferences that are organized around specific professions or industries.

Other Considerations
After you write your elevator speech, memorize and rehearse it. Practice it out loud and in front of a mirror multiple times until your delivery feels natural. Videotape yourself or ask a friend or colleague to critique your delivery; edit your speech accordingly.

Elevator Speech: Downloadable Tips
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BNET: How to Improve an Elevator Pitch
"Success" Magazine: 1-on-1 -- How to Communicate More Effectively

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