I grew up in New York City high rises. Outside of a handful of neighbors, I hardly ever talked to anyone when I was riding the elevator. Now everyone asks me: “What is your elevator speech?”
I first heard the term “elevator speech” a few years ago when I attended an organized speed networking event. It was explained to me that I needed to be able to describe to someone what I did professionally in thirty to sixty seconds, the length of an average elevator ride. When I researched the origins of the term, I traced it back to a 2007 article written by executive coach Aileen Pincus, The Perfect (Elevator )Pitch. “One of the most important things for a businessperson is to deliver a quick, succinct summation of what their company makes or does that excites others. The “Elevator Pitch” should be a fundamental skill.”
I have lost count how many times I have delivered my “elevator speech” at networking events, conferences, over the phone to people with whom I am connecting via LinkedIn, etc. All I know is I now sound like a fast talking politician. Today I am not going to bore you with my elevator speech, but this much I do know. Not once has anyone ever asked me a follow-up question after I delivered my stump speech. I always use the phrase “assist food manufacturers strategically” in the hope that someone would inquire what that entails, but nothing ever follows. Consequently I have asked myself do people really care. Has the term, what is your elevator speech become another business cliché? Do people really care, but it would take too many nanoseconds to understand the depth of one’s professional achievement. This leads me to wonder what is next? How can we further fine tune our elevator speeches? Maybe an elevator ride is too long. How about limiting everything to the ultimate sound byte, 140 characters or less?
Do you have a business tweet?