Time, or the lack thereof, is an issue for everyone these days. When you or your prospect is short on time, a brief but powerful message can help you make the connection, secure the appointment or simply start a relationship. “Regardless of your profession, you are required to communicate your message concisely and quickly,” says author and trainer Terri Sjodin. An elevator speech, she says, isn’t about closing the sale; it’s about opening the door.
Here, Sjodin shares the 10 basic steps for crafting a concise, compelling message.
1. Define your intention. What do you want to happen as a result of your three-minute elevator speech? Remember, your goal is to “advance the ball,” not score a touchdown.
2. Examine your scenario. Is this talk for a planned or a spontaneous situation? Preparing accordingly can help you earn the right to be heard.
3. Draft your core outline. Think about your message, your goals, your creative ideas and your persuasive arguments. Structure must be paired with progression. Your listeners want to know that you’re heading somewhere as you build up to your conclusion and close.
4. Build your case. Explain to listeners why they need you, your product or service; why they need to join your effort; and why now. Provide valid reasons and proof so your arguments pass the “So what?” test.
5. Don’t forget to close. Present your prospect with a clear directive and a respectful call to action. Ask for that next appointment, follow-up call or meeting. Make it easy and painless for the listener to take the next step with you.
6. Get creative. Do your homework on your audience or prospects, crafting an approach that speaks directly to their needs. Ramp up your creative nature and customize your talk to dazzle your prospects; give them a reason to want to meet with you again.
7. Speak in your own voice. Try a conversational approach that allows you to be comfortable and true to yourself and your personality. Communicate your experience, vision and excitement directly—in a way that only you can.
8. Write it out. Write out the long version and recite it. Then transfer your core outline and key points and phrases to an index card.
9. Practice, practice, practice. Review your elevator speech again and again until it feels like a natural part of your everyday communication.
10. Use it! Any elevator speech is only effective if you use it!
For more tips and techniques for improving your communication skills, watch for Sjodin’s new book, Small Message Big Impact: How to Put the Power of the Elevator Speech Effect to Work for You, available summer 2011.