What’s your elevator story?

If you had mere moments to convey the importance of your company’s mission if it would garner you a few leads, a few new clients, or even some word-of-mouth marketing, what would you say?

Or would you just be silent and not say anything at all?

One thing’s for sure, you shouldn’t let the moment pass you by and become a wasted space of awkward silence and babbling nonsense.

The best place to start is by drafting some talking points so you can be ready. As pointed out by author Christine Lagorio in this article on mastering your elevator pitch, it’ll probably come naturally if you believe in your business. But it can come almost too naturally, cautions Chris O’Leary, author of Elevator Pitch Essentials.

“One of the reasons some people have a hard time with elevator pitches are that some personality types aren’t compatible with it,” O’Leary says. “Entrepreneurs are so into their idea sometimes that because they care so much they assume that everybody else does too.”

When pitching your elevator story to someone, remember why it’s called that in the first place. You should draft your talking points or a short script if you must, and practice your pitch so that it comes naturally and lasts just long enough for an elevator ride (roughly 30-60 seconds). Lagorio suggests these tips:

“Consider your elevator pitch a personal 30-second TV spot: It should be a simple-to-grasp promotion that’s catchy enough to not let your viewer think about changing the channel – or about walking away.

Moreover, your pitch should impress your listener enough to induce the possibility of a future meeting. Think of it as a hook that makes the person you’re talking to need to ask “How does that work?” or simply request, “Tell me more.” At the very minimum, an elevator pitch should be used as an opportunity to broaden your network of professional contacts.”

Don’t keep your company’s elevator pitch under lock-and-key. Everyone in your organization should be prepared with a similar message and the team should practice with each other regularly.

How do you know that your elevator story is effective? O’Leary suggests trying it out on someone who is two decades older than you, and then turning around and testing it on someone two decades younger. “A truly effective pitch can work across attention spans and engagement levels, and will appeal to members of both groups.”

As your business grows and evolves, don’t leave your elevator pitch behind. It’s essential to keep your pitch fresh by revisiting it and revising it often. A businessweek.com article on The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch suggests that, “You can have the most creative logo, the slickest slogan, the most dazzling brochures, and the most cutting-edge website, but if your elevator pitch is out of date, you’re missing one of your most important opportunities to ‘brand.’”

Have you had success with elevator stories in the past? How does your team plan on implementing one? Let us know the successes you’ve had and challenges you’re facing with elevator pitching.

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