Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Communication Corner: Elevator Speech

Why do many people have what seems to be an irrational fear of elevators? Perhaps it's due to the inevitable relinquishment of control upon entering. You push the button for your floor, but what's to stop others from commandeering your vertical mode of transportation and introducing several other floors? Your trip is now lengthened and taking you to places you didn't intend.

If life gives you a bunch of lemons, what are you supposed to do? That's right, make lemonade. Likewise, you shouldn't let a packed elevator turn you into a sourpuss. A well-prepared elevator speech can give you the upper hand if you choose to seize the opportunity to promote your company or personal brand.

Topic: Elevator Speech
Origins: The term is most likely American due to the usage of 'elevator' as opposed to 'lift'. An exact date or time period of origin for its usage is relatively unknown. Entrepreneurs compose a pitch that sums up their product in a concise, yet enticing manner. The objective is to grab the interest of a potential investor or client in just a short elevator ride. It is an important tool that describes the unique aspects of a brand while accentuating its beneficial uses for the audience. A successful elevator pitch should leave the listener intrigued and wanting to learn more.

Today's Term: A good elevator speech is something that any forward-thinking company or individual should have prepared. Salesmen and inventors may have crafted the art, but this is a tool that can cultivate growth for the presently employed as well as the job seeker. Consider someone who has been with a company for a year or two and unexpectedly they find themselves sharing an elevator with the CEO or standing next to the Chairman of the Board on a lunch line. What's more beneficial for them, small talk about the weather, or a strong, brief statement about their personal contribution to thier department supplemented by intriguing facts about a current project they are working on? In order to excel you need to be prepared to be your own promoter. Take the time. Sum up the unique accomplishments and characteristics that make you valuable. Be proud. Tell others why you deserve to be where you are and then intrigue them with where you are going. Do it right and by the time you wrap up your speech, they will want to come along with you.
Common Uses: Networking events, career fairs, industry-related conventions, company events, performance assessments
Examples: Some great tips and samples from Microsoft, A strong example and a weak example, An interesting new swing on the idea: Twitpitch

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