What makes an elevator speech memorable?

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How to make your elevator speech memorable.

Answers  from  Elena  Ornig


Answering your questions.

As you will remember, we already discovered the essence of an elevator speech; its structure and time configuration. We also know that an elevator speech has a deliberate agenda to be remembered, to get noticed, to get more business or to get a referral. To meet this agenda we need to work out how to make an elevator speech memorable. We have confirmed that an elevator speech must be short, clearly state one or a few comprehensive points, and be conclusive. It has to be delivered with confidence or enthusiasm, persuasion or passion, inspiration or friendliness.

First you have to realise that when someone asks you the question, “What do you do?” the real meaning of the question is, “What can you do for me?” Can you solve my problem? Can you make me happy? Can you find the right solution for me? Can you reduce my stress? Can you make me healthier? Can you make me richer? If you can do what they want, they will not just listen to you, they will listen attentively and with a desire to know more about you or your business. So, realistically, your elevator speech must be the showcase of how you can help your audience; how will they benefit from knowing you or by using your service?

The answers to any of these questions, your comprehensive point that structurally is the body of your elevator speech, must be presented to give a clear understanding of the benefits in a way to enthrall your audience right from the beginning. Before continue to read further you might like to brief  yourself on where the term “elevator speech” came from.

There is a slight difference between giving your elevator speech as part of an audience or as a speaker on the stage. If you are part of the audience, then the introduction and body of your speech can be separated. The first question by someone could be:”Hi, I am Jack and you are?” “I am Jill.” In this case you already introduced yourself and cannot jump to your elevator speech unless the next question is “And, what do you do?”; or something similarly inquiring. On stage, even if someone already made your introduction, you have the choice of saying your name again, not saying it or bringing it up in the conclusion, but you must present your speech. This is the most interesting paradox of any elevator speech – your name is not important until you make it important. The most important parts of your elevator speech are the body and the conclusion. If you succeed with these two parts, your audience will become very keen to know your name and as a result will likely ask for your business card or contact details. Such a positive response is a clear sign of the success of your elevator speech.

However, never forget what is the core or essence of the elevator speech is.


There is a slight difference between giving your elevator speech as part of an audience or as a speaker on the stage.

Usually, people relate very well with stories, so tell them a story that clearly shows the benefits of your service. From the beginning, present some interesting fact, colorful information, unusual idea, or persuasive argument; perhaps ask an intriguing question or make a joke to grab their attention; and then present your comprehensive point (benefit/s). End your speech with a short conclusion that again stresses your point.

Let’s try to create an example. Imagine that you are a guest at a Writers conference and the man sitting next to you asks:

“Hi, I am Jack and you are?”

“I am Jill”

“And what do you do, Jill?”

“I save authors from embarrassment and make them feel proud. Look around Jack and see how happy, confident and proud many of them are. They are proud because they know they avoided any possibility of embarrassment when presenting their book to the readers. Their books do not have spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and style inconsistency. Their plots are well-adjusted and easy to read and understand. I am a very experienced editor and I can see you already guessed that. Yes, I save authors from embarrassment and make them feel proud by editing their books.” ( little interactive story).

This short elevator speech is 30 seconds long. This speech is very relaxed in style, friendly in tone and invites Jack to be involved in visual interaction with real people around him, thereby adding visual memory to the elevator speech.

The phrase:”I save authors from embarrassment and making them feel proud” is intriguing because it begs the following questions: “What exactly do you mean?” or “How?” Repeating the same phrase in the conclusion stresses the point, sinking it deeper into Jack’s memory. When Jill starts to talk about errors and mistakes it is easy to come up with a conclusion of who she really is even before she says it.

Her confirmation of the correctness of his guess will please Jack and make that moment memorable (just an extra psychological feel good effect for Jack who most likely already felt proud of his correct guess).

The words embarrassment and proud are total opposites but they complement each other; having great emotional resonance, they are easy to understand and relate to. Jack can easily remember that the editor is saving authors from embarrassment or making authors feel proud by correcting errors and mistakes, but the word association will bring him back to Jill. If Jack is a writer he will be interested to ask more questions because he appreciated the friendly conversation without detecting any push for sales. Even if Jack is not a writer and somebody asks him later if he knows a good editor, he will most likely remember Jill and refer people to her.

This is just one example of an elevator speech from millions upon millions of them. It is important to remember that your elevator speech has to be used at the right time and in the right place. You have to define your listener, your audience and the real event. You must choose the right style and tone for delivery of your elevator speech. To make your speech more memorable you can use images, interactive activities, objects or even real people around you.

You must remember that you have to decide what you can do for your audience: save problems, offer solutions, make them happier, make them richer, or make them healthier or prettier.

Extra example from our editor:

“Hi, I am Serge, and you are?”

“Hi, I am Jack Smith.”

“And, what do you do, Jack?”

“I am making people happy. I am experienced money-maker for my clients. I am smoothly taken their tax head ace away and make them happy. All my clients are constantly smiling all the way to the bank. I am smiling too because I just love my accounting job. I am with Tait & Smith Tax Accountants. Always ready to make my next client happy.”

Warmest regards,
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Written by Elena Ornig

Managing Director of Publishing Company "Julia Sophistique Pty Ltd". Committee member of Australian Computer Association GC Chapter. Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Member of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland. Member of the IT Forum Gold Coast. Sponsor of the Helensvale Writers' Group, Gold Coast. Committee member of the Gold Coast Writers Association Honored VIP Member of STANFORD WHO'S WHO in America. Publisher, writer and blogger.

Website: http://www.elenaornig.com/