Let’s refresh: A great elevator speech should:

• Clearly articulate what you do, and if time allows, indicate your expertise.

• Be succinct.

• Have impact.

Here is the back story, and a great example, of a non-elevator speech that does that extremely well.

I once had a ’98 Ford Explorer with more than 150,000 miles on it. I needed brakes, and was looking for a mechanic I could trust not to push me into repairs I didn’t need. I sent requests to friends for recommendations. Danny’s name came up. He worked at a well-known, independent garage and moonlighted on the side. I gave him a call. I don’t know a lot about cars and asked him many questions about brakes and other car-related repairs. After answering a few of them, Danny stopped me and in three short sentence, gave me one of the best non-elevator speeches I’ve ever heard:

Fred, I went to Ranken Technical College (one of the top career technical training schools in the country). I’m ASE-certified (you, like me, have probably seen that logo in professional garages. It stands for Automotive Service Excellence). You’re in good hands.

“Done!” I said to myself. With those few sentences, Danny had established his credibility with me as an expert. I was immediately very comfortable with the ‘opportunity’ to hire him to work on my car. My next words to Danny were, “Can we schedule this for Saturday morning?” We went on, for many months, to have a great relationship. I never questioned any part he bought or repair he made. I trusted the guy.

My Elevator Speech

What follows is my elevator speech. It is the culmination of much research, testing and tweaking. It is the one I deliver, when given the opportunity, in front of groups. It goes ‘from the ground floor to the top floor.’ Since it covers everything I want to tell a group, I refer to it as ‘The Ultimate Elevator Speech.’

Please read it and ‘hear’ my voice as you do. Kindly read it a second time and consider how it might look in your world. We’ll then take a look at each ‘floor’ and see how it was crafted. It’s about 37 seconds in length.

Hello. My name is Fred Miller. I’m a speaker, a coach and an author. The title of my first book is, NO SWEAT Public Speaking! Businesses, individuals and organizations hire me because they want to improve their public speaking and presentation skills. They do that because they know speaking opportunities are business, career and leadership opportunities. They also know we perceive really good speakers as experts! We like to work with experts. I show them how to develop, practice and deliver a knock-your-socks-off presentation with NO SWEAT!

Now that you’ve read it, what do you think?

My goal is that you know exactly what I do and my expertise for doing it. You can now make an educated decision:

• ‘File’ for future use, if needed, for myself or to refer.

• Refer to someone I could help.

• Have a conversation with me to learn more for myself or people I know—you may decide to hire me.

If my speech struck a chord with you, continue and tweak it to match your world.

Let’s Get Into the Elevator

First Floor: Describe Who You Are

Hello! My name is Fred Miller.

That may be all someone wants to know about you—your name. .

Some people have names that are difficult to pronounce. If that happens, the name can become a distraction, keeping the recipient(s) focused on the person’s name. They might be trying to figure out spelling, derivation or ethnicity of it, and they’ll likely miss the next ‘floors.’ When the last name is one that falls into this category, use your first name for now when introducing yourself. If your first name is an odd or difficult one, pronounce it slowly. Another solution is to say it, spell it at a slow pace, and say it again.

Second Floor: Describe What You Do

I'm a speaker, a coach and an author.

That’s what I do. Those three descriptions are clear, succinct and easily understood.

What describes you?

Describe it simply: I’m an insurance rep, or I’m a CPA. Most people know CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant.

However, other abbreviations may not be as well-known and should be followed by the words they stand for. I’m an EVP, Executive Vice-President, or I’m a CFO, Chief Financial Officer.

If it is a profession that may need some explanation, give that clarification after stating what it is. I’m a Ironmonger—that’s someone who sells things made out of iron. My specialty is yard sculpture. Or, I’m a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. I treat children and teens with blood diseases and cancer. You may think your profession doesn’t need an explanation, but it might. Clarity is essential to a great elevator speech.

Future columns will continue the elevator speech topic, covering the other ‘floors’ of the elevator speech template and how to deliver one. Till then, make next your presentation - NO SWEAT!

Fred Miller is a speaker, presentation coach and author of NO SWEAT Public Speaking! For more information, email him at Fred@NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com or visit NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com.

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