How To Create the All-Important Elevator Speech For Your Presentations and for Your Content Marketing

elevator with people It is so hard, but so important to explain what it is that you do and how it will benefit the person to whom you are communicating. Not at length.  But so concisely that it can be communicated in less time than it takes an elevator to go up a few floors. And, so compellingly that your listener will remember and repeat it to others.

Actually, Nick Morgan is even more precise than this.  He says your elevator speech must be a single sentence.

I have just begun to read his wonderful book, Give Your Speech, Change the World. It is absolutely must reading, even if the only speeches you give are internal presentations within your organization.

Nick is the founder of Public Words, a communications coaching company. So he gives speeches–and teaches people how to give speeches–for a living. It’s obvious from reading his book that he is a very, very good at it. Listen to what he has to say about that all-important elevator speech.

To communicate the importance of an elevator speech as the core of any presentation, he imagines a scenario in which he is in an elevator with a convention attendee who has the choice of spending an hour listening to Nick’s talk or spending quality time in the sunshine with his golf clubs.  In response to this golfer’s imaginary question: “I’m a golfer, and there is a PGA class golf course outside.  So tell me, why should I attend your speech?”

Here is Nick’s response:

Because, if you attend my speech, you will learn how to give presentations without fear, presentations that move your audience to action every time.

Unless this golfer is a complete loser, he will be attending Nick’s speech.

As Nick explains it, there are three essential elements to this and every effective elevator speech:

  1. it must contain a benefit for the potential member of the audience, that is, his imaginary elevator companion.
  2. It must contain the word you, meaning the audience.
  3. It must contain some reference to emotion, because emotion is more engaging and memorable than intellectual information.

The power of his elevator speech formula is that it conveys a genuine benefit to the audience in an engaging and compelling way, but then it all forces you to focus on one idea and one idea only.

Excellent Elevator Speech + Great Content = Intense Customer Engagement

Nick is right about speeches.  But I’m convinced that his advice applies equally to our content marketing efforts.  Our customers are always asking (even if it’s subliminal), “What’s in it for me?”  In answer to their question we need to be ready with content that is driven by a tightly focused brand promise that can be distilled into a Nick Morgan-style elevator speech.

Of course, if you want to learn how to become a successful speaker, start by visiting Nick online at: PublicWords.com

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2 Comments

  1. Posted February 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Newt is absolutely right about the applicability of the elevator speech to marketing. The secret is to focus on the audience, and never forget that customers today are stressed, over-saturated with information, and worried about their own financial safety. Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to your customers and understand that if they’re focused on their safety (because of economic concerns) then they will only listen to messages that address safety concerns. Nothing else will get their attention. Period.

  2. Newt Barrett
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Nick,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Here in SW Florida, business owners are indeed very concerned. I think nailing a laser-like focus on a single point of maximum need will be critical in b2b marketing.
    Of course, I’m still working on getting mine down precisely. So much of marketing can be pretty easy to explain, but incredibly hard to do right.

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