Why You Should Have an Elevator Speech

Being humble is admirable, but it could be a career blocker. If you never talk about your work accomplishments, your professional progress could come to a standstill.

It’s crucial to be prepared to promote yourself in a meaningful way, especially if you’re placed in a team environment with people you don’t know well. You’ll need some shortcuts to explain who you are and what value you bring to the project at hand. That shortcut can be a well-crafted elevator speech.

The point of the elevator speech is that it allows you to capture the essence of what you do. The goal is not necessarily to move others to adopt your viewpoints, but rather to offer information that begins a conversation. It’s a chance to:

  • Talk about your accomplishments and promote your credibility.
  • Let people know what you’re good at and what you can handle.
  • Showcase what makes you essential to your hospital, health system or, in some cases, the healthcare industry as a whole.

The trick is to customize the message so that you present your elevator speech differently based on the audience. It’s helpful to think of your elevator speech like a 30-second public service announcement. It’s a great way to begin a conversation and offer the other person something compelling to consider.

Your goal is to be brief and persuasive and spark interest in what you do. Think of your elevator speech as a presentation that occurs as part of a natural conversation.

Keep in mind that people become skeptical when an elevator speech sounds too much like a commercial. If anything even hints at being a sales pitch or fake-sounding, people tune it out. And, if you rehearse it to the point where it’s always the same, you might miss the chance to address the specifics most important to a particular audience.

How to Craft a Memorable Speech

Start by thinking of two to three of your biggest achievements over the past several years and a list of ways you’ve contributed to those successes. Next, here are some basic rules for crafting those accomplishments into a short speech:

Communicate your unique value proposition immediately. Focus on the benefits that people will gain by knowing or working with you. It should be a description of what you do, not your title. In fact, don’t mention your title or company name right away.

Be concise. You want to intrigue someone so they say: “Wow. Tell me more.” (That’s really the ultimate goal.)

Invest in rehearsal time. Practice your speech with people who know you well, and listen to their feedback. Remember, you want to sound natural, enthusiastic and approachable—not stale or arrogant.

In short, your goal is to be brief and persuasive and spark interest in what you do. Think of your elevator speech as a presentation that occurs as part of a natural conversation.

How to Make a Compelling Presentation

The next time you’re at a networking event or business meeting, practice these pointers for introducing yourself and telling others what makes you distinctive:

1. Deliver a clear message. One size does not fit all, so consider your audience (internally or externally) and tailor your message and delivery accordingly.

2. Differentiate yourself. Let your audience know that you’re not just filling a role but that you’re making results happen. Look at the bottom line: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what kind of savings would your hospital forfeit? What would the impact be on patients?

3. Explain why you are excited about what you are doing. This strategy gets you out of “hey-look-at-me-aren’t-I-great?” mode. Ask yourself, “What do I want my audience to remember most about why I love what I do?”

4. Come up with talking points. Figure out ahead of time the three to five key points you want your listener to take away from your speech.

Once you’ve crafted your elevator speech, it’s important to avoid sounding like you’re reading from a script. The more you practice, the more you’ll get used to naturally delivering your message rather than sounding too formulaic or over-rehearsed.

And while you don’t want to be self-conscious, be aware of your body language and any subliminal messages you may be communicating.

Finally, understand the role that silence plays in your elevator speech. Meaning: Learn to stop talking after you’ve delivered the hook. You need to give the listener time to contemplate what you have said and become intrigued enough to ask you follow-up questions.

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Roz Usheroff

Roz Usheroff

Roz Usheroff is a leadership, image and branding specialist, entertaining and educating diverse audiences across continents with her insights and vision on what it takes to achieve leadership and corporate success. Roz leads her clients to maximize on their talents, attract followers and distinguish themselves in their industry. More Articles by This Author »