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Do you have an elevator speech ?

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New Contributor
Oct 22, 2007
Philadelphia area
I was advised to come up with an elevator speech today. The concept is basically a 30 second sound bite about who you are and what you do / services you can provide used to network in a situation where you need to make an impression in a short amount of time...i.e on an elevator, walking down the street...etc. Is any one here familiar with this concept ? Does it work ? Does anyone have an example ?

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Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
Napa Valley, CA
One of the most important elements of an elevator speech is:

Who would want to listen to you say this?

I've heard lots of these, and almost all were brief puff pieces designed to impress the listener.

Here's the thing: Not everyone wants to be impressed.

Or sold something.

Actually, how many strangers have you had conversations with on elevators?

There's a reason for this: Most folks are pretty closed down to ideas/conversation on elevators. It's a weird etiquette. Kinda like not talking to the person in the public bathroom stall next to you (although these days, hey, that person in the stall next to you might just be a senator!) :rolleyes:

And yes, I realize that it's called an "elevator speech" to make it time sensitive (gotta get it all out before they get to their floor). But really-- this is a speech that most people will not want to hear. It's a "carpe diem" moment for you-- but not for them.

They just want to be left alone.

So, from the first second you open your mouth, you've got to make them *want* to hear more.

Here's my point:

MJ has a great post about developing a successful entrepreneurial premise:

MJ said:
If you can make 1,000,000 people achieve any of the following:

1) Make them feel better
2) Help them solve a problem
3) Educate them
4) Make them look better (health, nutrition, clothing, makeup)
5) Give them security (housing, safety, health)
6) Arise a positive emotion (love, happiness, laughter, self-confidence)
7) Satisfy appetites of all kind, from basic (food) to the risqué (sexual).
8) Make things easier
9) Enhance their dreams and give hope

Think about these 9 things when you are doing your elevator speech. You don't have to hit on all--but think about how your speech is going to be interesting/involving for the *listener*.

Don't just make it a 30 second mission statement.

Make it something people will remember. Something that will help them, not you.

I'll post some examples after a few more folks weigh in. :)

-Russ H.


Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 7, 2007
Were you advised to do an elevator pitch since you're looking for an investor?
I've had lots of elevator pitches thrown at me.
The ones that made the most impact were those in which the pitcher put the focus on who he or she was and why he/she would succeed with the proposed venture. The product or service is important, but I would say spend at least 50% of the time given to you for the speech on your background and abilities before you outline the business venture.
Make sure that the audience will remember you (first of all your name) as a person worth investing in.


Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 18, 2007
Richmond, VA
This worked wonders for me!
I just recently attended a meetup group of entrepreneurs and we had a guest speaker, along with an author who wrote a great book (CEO Success) which teaches the entrepreneur mindset (franchising instead of a single small business, branding, etc.). He taught us a simple format for these "elevator pitches" and it worked wonders for me after the meeting! The format is as follows:
1) Problem
2) You and your solution
3) What you need
Or in easier terms, because I can relate to 'fill in the blanks':
1) You know how...(insert problem of market/businesses of today)
2) My name is (blank) and I provide...(insert service/product that you/your company provides)
3) I am looking for...(insert customer base you want to work with)

He explained this method of elevator pitch as a no-nonsense way of getting about it. You single out a problem. You provide your solution. And you get down to brass tacks on who you want to work with. You don't want people who are kicking tires, MAYBE want to single out a market and attack.
The thing about this "elevator pitch" is that people have a HUGE rolodex of contacts and you can't possibly access it all at once. You have to make your pitch effective so that their "rolodex" of a mind, rolls exactly to 1-3 people that they can network you with. That is why you get to it so quick and effectively. They know that you are serious. I am new to this as well...but for example:

You know how there are a large amount of people slipping into foreclosure and houses that have been on the market for 140+ days, or buyers who cannot qualify for a home loan?
My name is Josh Curtis and I provide Full Service Real Estate Solutions to people in distressed financial situations.
Who I am looking for are buyers who cannot qualify for a home loan, sellers who cannot sell or are in desperate NEED to sell, and other investors looking to get into real estate.

There it is! Any criticism is appreciate as long as it is constructive! This is my first attempt and I hope this has helped!

I also would like to add that after we introduced ourselves using this method, out of a room of 20 people about 7 told me to see them after the meeting was over. I think it is great to give people your business, quickly, efficiently, and if they want to deal with you, they will come and learn more. If they do not...then you probably don't need/want to work with them anyways.


Aug 14, 2007
Buckinghamshire, UK
Being able to summarise what you do is a VERY useful skill to have. I often meet people who are still trying to explain what they do after a couple of minutes. I quickly loose interest...

Quick summary... get their interest... get a meeting/lunch booked to discuss in more detail

Also, don't give away any USPs (unique selling points) too easily!


Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
I'm an executive summary girl
(which is why my blog posts are 100 words long or less)
so I'm a fan of elevator speeches.

I like the method Joshua outlines.
Because it switches the focus
from you
to your listener.
Most people care first and foremost about themselves
and their own problems.
Make it about them
and they will listen.


Aug 29, 2007
Regina, SK, Canada
I find elevator speeches very effective. As it was mentioned, I don't use them with complete strangers in the elevator to strike up a conversation, however my office is in a 17 storey building, so there are a lot fo regulars that you see. Every once in a while we'll strike up a conversation "Hey, I see you here every day...what do you do here?". I find elevator speeches are of greatest value at networking functions.

I think the idea of an elevator speech is to create interest in the work you do. When people ask "what do you do for a living?" What do you tell them? If you give them your job title (like most people do), most people will say "Right on..." becuase they don't want to sound stupid as and "ask what the hell does that mean?" or they assume they don't need your services becuase it sounds like a fancy title. End of conversation...awkward silence watching the numbers above the elevator door. Furthermore, you didn't even answer their question...they asked What do you DO, not what your job title is!

Here's my example (I am an insurance and investment advisor)...I think it covers most of the points in Joshuacurtis's post:

"I make sure people have money at the times in their lives when they need it the most."
If I know something about the person, I'll follow that line up with..
"I generally work with **enter something specific about them**" EI: self-employed people to so they can focus on the actual business and not the financials of the business, or young couples to help make sure they have a happy financially fit home, or people approaching their retirement to make sure they can live as comfortably in retirement as they are now, etc, etc.

Normally the response is "Really? So how do you do that (make sure people have money)?" Or "you can give me money anytime you want!" End of elevator ride...collect their phone number and follow up.

Sometimes I'll adapt the first sentence to be more specific to the situation and elaborate on it in the follow up sentence.

Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
Napa Valley, CA
Good replies.

One of the key elements here is to draw the person in.

Make it so compelling, that they ask you a question or two.

Then, you don't need the 30 second resume anymore.

You have an interested prospect, who will devote time/consideration to your words.

I believe many industries refer to this as a "hook", for obvious reasons.:smx7:

-Russ H.


Aug 28, 2007
Networking issues:

Appear approachable.

Be interested in others

When asked: what do you do?

I help our team solve problems in people’s lives:
Our team: _________________________
By doing __________________________
We improve people’s _____________________ and help them be more comfortable with _____________

More important than the speech is that you actually do what you say you do. Your elevator speech is a condensed version of your company vision.



New Contributor
Oct 22, 2007
Philadelphia area
Many thanks to you all for the replies. :notworthy:I have been so busy lately, that I had forgotten all about the elevator speech. Going on the "to do" for this weekend. These examples where great and now I know which direction to proceed. Right now I need 3. One for THE J.O.B, another for Real Estate and a third for the vending biz.


Aug 27, 2007
Elevator speech example:

Me: "So what do you do?"
You: "Well you know when you are looking to shop health insurance and don't want to deal with a pushy health insurance agent or navigate the Internet because it's so confusing?"
Me: "Yes"
You: "What I do is help people avoid agents by shopping the market for them, emailing them the prices of 10 plans from the top 5 companies, and guarantee that I can find them the lowest cost plan or I will pay them $50. I do all this without the pressure from agent and creating simple explanations of the plan benefits."

Be specific and focus on what the service can do for them. In this example, telling them you're a health insurance agent means NOTHING!!! That implies no specific benefit for them.

What you're trying to get is a "Oh, how do you do that?" or a "Really? That's sound like something I'd could use."

Alot of people will try to pressure of push for an appointment or no try at all, but I believe it's more effective to market. Become like salt which makes people thirsty for more. No need to pressure when they desire what you have to offer... That simply concept has changed my whole view of sales / mktg. and business.

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Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
Napa Valley, CA
OK, time for a few examples.

Please note that these are NOT traditional elevator 'speeches'.

These are, instead, designed to make the person miss their floor. :)

Let's say you specialize in foreclosures. At a party, someone asks, "So, what do *you* do?"

You reply, smiling somewhat sheepishly (being modest): "I pull people out of burning buildings."

(that's all you say).

What happens next?

Do they ask for more info, or not?


Let's explore the real meaning of this exercise.

This is all about getting your point across to someone who doesn't know you, and probably doesn't care.

Some thoughts:

When was the last time someone asked you "What you do?", on an elevator?

Has anyone ever done this?

How about the last time in an elevator someone you didn't know tried to start a conversation?

How did you feel? Did you think they were weird? Or just chatty?.

So here's a revised exercise:

What can you say-- ONE SENTENCE-- on an elevator-- that will:

a. Start the conversation, and
b. Get others so intrigued that they are drawn to ask you a question, which leads to:
c. Them being so interested in your responses that they choose to miss their floor, and keep riding with you?

A bit harder than a speech, eh?

But a lot more effective.

Try it. :)

-Russ H.

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