Looking for an elevator speech template? In this post, I’m going to explain how to create a 30 second commercial (elevator pitch) for yourself. (Or for your company.) This elevator speech can be used to introduce yourself to a new contact, help you get an interview, or help you sell an idea to a decision-maker. This type of presentation is critical when you have to grab a person’s attention in a positive way and time is short. In this post, we will cover a brief history of the concept, an elevator speech template, and a few examples.
History of the Elevator Speech
The term “elevator speech” or “elevator pitch” has been used in the business world for over 40 years. It is hard to pin down who actually coined the phrase. However, Dr. Graham Wilson does an excellent job of crediting Phillip Crosby in his article The History of the Elevator Speech. According to Wilson, the term occurred in the second printing of Crosby’s Quality Management book “The Art of Getting Your Own Sweet Way” in 1981. At the time, Quality Management was a big focus in American industry.
In the book, Crosby encourages Quality Managers to create a “pre-prepared speech selling the benefits of their new approach to quality that they could deliver in the elevator if they find themselves unexpectedly in the company of a senior executive for a few floors.”
The Difference Between an “Elevator Speech” and an “Elevator Pitch”.
By the early 1990’s the term had been adopted by sales trainers around the world. In fact, eventually, the term “elevator speech” became synonymous with “elevator pitch.” Sales trainers taught that you had to be able to deliver a value proposition quickly. (Meaning you had to convince a prospect that you could benefit them.) Between you and I, the terms mean exactly the same thing. However, many sales people will often bust out what I call the “sales person fangs.” They jump all over an unsuspecting listener. When they do this, they try to force a sales pitch that is of no interest to the listener. Obviously, if someone is doing this, the “pitch” will fail.
The purpose of the elevator speech is to get the person hearing the speech to want to hear more. Nothing else. In fact, our elevator speech template will encourage the listener to actually want to hear more. In addition, the listener will often ask you to explain the concept in more detail. (If we deliver it well.) So, if you happen to be in sales, and you are looking for a way to get potential prospects to come to you, the template will work well for you.
The 60-Second Commercial and the 30-Second Commercial
Eventually, the concept of the “Elevator Pitch” was replaced with a “60-Second Commercial.” Since Crosby’s original concept was one-minute long, sales trainers used the same concept in networking. This concept was simple. When you are at a business card exchange, you want to be able to explain what you do quickly. So, the Elevator Speech became synonymous with a promotional introduction. They just re-named it a 60-second commercial.
I remember going to networking events in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. At the time, we were taught to practice a great 60-second commercial. You had to get really good at it. If you did, be able to pitch a random person that you just met and make them want to buy something from you. Of course that was horse hockey. Oh yes, I’m sure, on occasion, someone use this commercial with someone who actually has a specific need. Then, later, the person bought. But, I’d wager that these situations were pretty rare if the person delivering the 60-second commercial was being pushy.
By the way, today, if it takes 60 seconds to explain what you do, you’ve likely already lost the listener. Recently, the concept has been shortened to a 30-second commercial.
Elevator Speech Template
This elevator speech template will show you how to create a 30-second commercial for yourself or company. One key to making this process work is to be both genuinely interested in the other person. Another key, though is to get the person to pull the information from you. A good analogy for this is fishing. No one ever caught a fish by dunking their head underwater and telling the fish how great they were. First, you have to offer the fish something that the fish wants. Then, you have to wait for the fish to make the next move. Finally, you have to set the hook. The 30-second commercial is very similar. (Except that the listener doesn’t end up grilled on a plate at the end. Okay, maybe I could have come up with a better analogy, but you get the point.)
- Introduction (If Necessary)
Obviously, step 1 is to introduce yourself if the person you are speaking to is unknown to you. Keep the introduction short. Just your name, your company, and very, very brief description of what you do. For instance, for me, I’d just say, “Hi, I’m Doug Staneart, and I’m a professional speaker at The Leader’s Institute ®.” Remember that I’m not trying to “pitch” the person or “sell” to the person. If I’m meeting the person for the first time, I really want the person to ask me questions about myself. By starting with an opening like this, I’m leading the person to ask me more.
For instance, I know that most people have never heard of The Leader’s Institute ®. So, by not explaining in detail about what the company does, it leads the person to ask, “So, what does The Leader’s Institute ® do?” Also, instead of saying that I’m a teacher or trainer, I say professional speaker. It builds interest. It also makes the speaker want to know more.
By the way, the best way that I have ever found to do that is to ask questions of the other person. If I want the person to ask me something, I will often ask that same thing about them.
- Focus on the Problem that You Solve (Want to Solve) for People.
The big mistake that a lot of people make here is to pull out the salesperson fangs.
“Well, let me tell you… The Leader’s Institute ® is an international training company specializing in leadership, presentation skills, and team building events. We conduct as many as 300 public speaking classes every year. We have also trained over 100 professional speakers. In addition, we have over 30,000 people every year participate in our team building activities. Would you like me to send you some information about some of our public speaking classes or team building events?”
The person will likely be polite, but quickly try to distance himself/herself from you. Going back to the fishing example, you got a tiny nibble, and then jerked the line.
Instead, you want to tease the fish a little. Give them another taste of the bait. The best way that I have ever found to do this is to tell the person how you can solve a problem that they can relate to. For instance, in my own case, I might just say something like, “I help people eliminate public speaking fear.” Then… I shut up. I wait for the inevitable… “How exactly do you do that?” I have my second nibble. Now, it is time to set the hook.
- Tell a Quick Emotional Story
This is where the actual 30-second commercial actually starts. The best commercials are the ones that take you on a journey. They tell you a story. Your 30-second commercial should do the same. So, whatever problem that you have just said that you solve, give a 30-second example of a time you did it.
For instance, I might say something like…
Well, let me give you an example. a few weeks ago, Whole Foods had me fly into Miami to coach a team their regional managers. The leader of the team was a very charismatic and energetic speaker. So, the managers who worked under him were a little self-conscious about speaking in front of him. So, basically, I helped them have a series of mini-successes which built up their speaking skills and confidence. By the end of my training with them, they were presenting better than most professional speakers. The boss was so shocked at how well everyone did, that he recommended me to Whole Foods corporate in Austin.
Of course, if you pick an example that is closely related to the listener, that works better. So, if I’m speaking to a person in the tech industry, I might give an example of training I did for HP or Microsoft. (Yup, I actually did presentation training for the people who created PowerPoint.)
- The Subtle Take Away
The subtle take-away is the last stage of the Elevator Speech Template. In sales training, we always teach sales people to “Ask for the close.” In presentation training, we encourage speakers to create a “Call to Action.” When we are doing an elevator pitch, though, we don’t want to seem pushy. We want the “close” to be the listener’s idea. So, a subtly take-away can help.
So, instead of me closing with, “Do you or anyone you know need presentation training?” I’d be more subtle. I might say something like, “I’m guessing that working for [Listener’s Company], your team is full of highly skilled presenters. I doubt that they would need the kind of help that I offer, though, huh?”
The moment that I get the listener to disagree with me… Well, I win.
Examples Using the Elevator Pitch Template
Internal Elevator Pitch to Get Funding for a Project
Let’s say your team has found a solution to a software glitch, but you need $10,000 in capital to fund the project.
(Intro) Hey boss, it’s Doug from software R&D. (Problem) We have been working on a software glitch that is causing customer service to not be able to pull up customer records. Joe in customer service has determined that we are losing about $5,000/month from it. However, it looks like we have found an easy solution. [Pause and wait for boss to ask, “How?”]
(Quick Emotional Story) Let me give you an example. Last week, we got a call from a customer wanting to cancel his service. The customer service rep was able to save the customer by scheduling a tech to come out first thing the next morning. The tech never showed. The customer was irate. Not only did he cancel, but he had a few choice curse words for the rep. We have no chance of ever getting that customer back.
Our average customer stays with us three years. So, we lost about $150 this month and $4,000 lifetime by losing that single customer. Joe said that we lost $5,000 just this month. So, if just a few of the deals that we lost were like the one that I saw, we might be losing tens of thousands of dollars from this glitch. Turns out, we can purchase a newer, more up to date scheduling app for just $10,000.
(Subtle Take Away) It may take a while to budget the $10,000. So, we can probably get the new scheduling app in use in about 6 months. What do you think?
30-Second Commercial for a Financial Planner
Let’s say you are a financial planner at a business card exchange, and you are looking for new clients. Instead of saying, “I’m a financial planner” focus more on the problem that you solve. Then come up with a job title that encompasses that solution. Here is an example.
(Intro) Hi, I’m Doug Staneart, and I’m a retirement specialist for Edward Jones.
[Retirement specialist? What is that?]
Basically, I help people retire young enough so that they can still enjoy their wealth.
[Really, how do you do that?]
Let me give you an example. Back in 2008, I had a family who had been investing with me for about 15 years. The couple was in their mid-forties, and they were just preparing for retirement at 65. Well, I started noticing that there was a lot of uncertainty in the market. So, I suggested that they pull out of all of the funds based on the stock market. After the crash, we reinvested. The almost tripled their nest-egg in about five years. I got a postcard from them in St. Thomas a few weeks ago. They both retired at 55, and they have been enjoying themselves for a few years now.
(Subtle Take-Away) You’ve been preparing for retirement for decades, so I doubt that story is really exciting you. though.
The Point is Get Them to Come to You
Remember, focus on the problem that your listener wants to solve. Then show them how you can help them solve it. You can’t push a rope. However, if you can convince the other person to pull the rope, you will move closer to them.
- Your elevator speech should be brief. Restrict the speech to 30-60 seconds. ...
- You need to be persuasive. ...
- Share your skills. ...
- Practice, practice, practice. ...
- Be positive and flexible. ...
- Mention your goals. ...
- Know your audience, and speak to them. ...
- Have a business card ready.
An “elevator pitch” is a 30-second spoken statement about you, in your own authentic voice. It is a well-prepared answer to questions like “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” or “So, what do you do?”What are three 3 important things to include in your elevator speech? ›
Keep your elevator speech short and sweet, aiming to deliver your message in 60 seconds or less. Say who you are, what you do, and what you want to achieve. Your goal is to focus on the essentials. Be positive and persuasive with your limited time.
General elevator pitch template
Introduction: “Hi I'm [name], a [position title] at [company name]. It's great to meet you!” Problem: “Since you work with [company name or industry] I figured you'd be interested to know that [problem + interesting statistic].”
As a general rule, spend 75% of the pitch giving a brief run through of your academic and work history, making sure to highlight those top experiences, themes and skills. Round up your pitch by explaining why you want to work for the employer and give some career goals that you could achieve through the position.What is 30 seconds elevator summary? ›
The 30 second summary, often referred to as “the elevator speech” is a simple concept; it's how you present yourself to others in 30 seconds, whether it is a person with whom you are networking, or perhaps an old friend who you actually do meet in the elevator!How many words is a 30 second elevator pitch? ›
Most people speak 120-200 words per minute; use a comprehensible 75 words (slightly slower than the average speaking speed) in your 30-second elevator pitch.What is a good elevator speech? ›
An effective elevator pitch is meant to be no more than 30 seconds, just like the length of time you ride in an elevator. You want to keep your words easily digestible, so avoid trying to get too deep into specifics as it can drag on the conversation — and lose your prospect's attention.What not to do in an elevator speech? ›
Do avoid an Elevator Speech that will leave the listener mentally asking "So what?" Do consider including a compelling "hook," an intriguing aspect that will engage the listener, prompt him or her to ask questions, and keep the conversation going. Don't let your speech sound canned or stilted. Do practice your speech.What are the 3 C's for an elevator pitch? ›
It may not seem like it, but 30-45 seconds is more time than you think; making sure that you don't rush yourself and that you are cool, calm, and collected can convey confidence (#alliteration).
Sample “Me in 30 Seconds” statement for an interview: “People find me to be an upbeat, self-motivated team player with excellent communication skills. For the past several years I have worked in lead qualification, telemarketing, and customer service in the technology industry.What is an example of a powerful self-introduction? ›
You can start your self-introduction by mentioning your name, experience, occupation and other details to create a positive first impression. Example: “My name is Satish Gupta. II am a recent chemical engineering graduate with six months of industrial training at a leading paper manufacturing company.”How do you end an elevator speech? ›
You should end your elevator pitch by asking for what you want to happen next. If you feel an elevator pitch is appropriate for a certain situation, begin with the goal of gaining a new insight or next steps.What is a short elevator speech? ›
An elevator pitch is a brief (think 30 seconds!) way of introducing yourself, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone. It's called an elevator pitch because it takes roughly the amount of time you'd spend riding an elevator with someone.How do you introduce yourself professionally? ›
- Greeting: Hello, my name is (name). ...
- Goal: I am looking for (internship/full-time position) at (employer name).
- Interest/passion: I am interested in (interests related to the company/industry).
- Strengths: I have many skills to contribute including (strengths) and (skills).
- Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome to my presentation. ...
- Let me start by saying a few words about my own background.
- As you can see on the screen, our topic today is......
- My talk is particularly relevant to those of you who....
- This talk is designed to act as a springboard for discussion.
- Mention your relevant professional experience. ...
- Include important awards and achievements. ...
- Share relevant personal details. ...
- End with a professional yet friendly tone. ...
- Choose the right point of view. ...
- Update when needed.
- Tailor your pitch to include the important points for the audience you are addressing.
- Practice often to refine your delivery and timing.
- Always conclude with some kind of action you want the person to take.
- Relate to their problem. When you start a pitch, the first thought in your audience's mind is: Why should I care? ...
- Explain the solution. ...
- Detail why your product is unique. ...
- Personalize the message. ...
- Craft a compelling call-to-action.
- Introduce yourself, say what you do, and how you do it. There's no going around that part. ...
- Add some captivating details about you. Mention something that makes you unique. ...
- Provide examples of your past achievements. ...
- Use the ending of your pitch as a conversation-starter.
I am a hard-working and driven individual who isn't afraid to face a challenge. I'm passionate about my work and I know how to get the job done. I would describe myself as an open and honest person who doesn't believe in misleading other people and tries to be fair in everything I do.
Example: 'I have many strengths that help me be successful at work. First, I have a strong work ethic that drives me to meet deadlines well ahead of schedule. I enjoy feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes with doing a job well and on time.How do you describe yourself in one word sample answer? ›
To describe myself in one word, I'm a very ambitious person. I take up all learning opportunities that enhance my skills and know-how to cope up with failures. I like challenging myself to find creative solutions as quickly as possible and resolve any issues at hand.
to not consider someone or something to be as valuable or good as he, she, or it deserves: Don't sell yourself short - you have the skills and the experience.How do you sell yourself in one sentence? ›
By focusing on the benefits and impact of what you do, before mentioning what you do, gives people the desire and curiosity to know more about you, which can eventually makes them your potential clients. After thought: let the benefits of what you do be the primary focus and who or what you are a secondary focus.What is a good attention grabber for an elevator pitch? ›
Grab their attention with a great hook
An engaging opener will help your elevator pitch really stand out. Try to think of a juicy detail, a question, a funny story or a memorable client to share in the opening moment.
- Start with who you are.
- Write about what you do and how you do it.
- Explain the results of your work and what makes you unique.
- Edit what you've written. ...
- Add a good conversation-starter at the beginning. ...
- Record your pitch. ...
- Make sure you stay within the 30 seconds without talking too fast.
- Identify yourself.
- Identify your company.
- Explain what your company does.
- Discuss how its products or services can benefit the customer.
- Give the prospect a reason to act sooner rather than later.
The hook is a statement used specifically to get attention. Use your hook as the first sentence in your message, making it about your objective, your listener, and your approach. It can be a dramatic or humorous statement, or a personal anecdote. It can also be a question that you answer straightaway.What is bad elevator etiquette? ›
A good rule of thumb is to never hold the door for longer than 20 seconds on a busy elevator. DON'T: Squeeze your way into a crowded elevator or ask for the door to be held for you so you can squash in.
- Follow the “two-flight” rule. ...
- Holding the door—when, how, and if you should do it. ...
- Keep proxemics in mind when positioning yourself in an elevator. ...
- Always face the elevator doors. ...
- Minimal eye contact is standard. ...
- Keep phone calls private. ...
- How to exit when the elevator is full.
A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. It should be interesting, memorable and succinct. It also needs to explain what makes you – or your organization, product or idea – unique.What are three 3 characteristics of a bad elevator pitch? ›
- You've forgotten that you're pitching to a human being. ...
- You haven't said what problem your startup is solving. ...
- You don't know your numbers. ...
- Your elevator pitch is too fast. ...
- Your business idea is too abstract. ...
- You don't have a use case. ...
- You didn't practice your pitch.
- Get down to the nitty-gritty. This is your introduction, where you sell your brand and yourself or what you do. ...
- Emphasize the value you offer. ...
- Include links and Photos. ...
- Mention any huge achievements. ...
- Follow up.
C: With three different meanings: Concourse, used in some train stations and double deck (lower deck) elevator. Casino, used as the building with the specific floor used only for Casinos. Cockloft, similar as "Mezzanine Floor" (M).What is a 30 second elevator summary? ›
An elevator pitch, sometimes called a “15 or 30 second pitch or commercial”, enables the listener to become aware—relatively quickly—of specific, unique, and impressive attributes you can bring to a position. It is essentially a brief monologue describing the benefits of buying a particular product or service—YOU!What is an example of a strong elevator pitch? ›
I help [target personas] [achieve goal] through a combination of [product/service], [product/service], and [product service]. Not only [differentiator #1], but [differentiator #2], so you can [benefit]. Over [X customers] have [achieved goal] with my [help], and you can too. [CTA].What a 30 second elevator speech or introduction is? ›
An elevator pitch is a brief (think 30 seconds!) way of introducing yourself, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone. It's called an elevator pitch because it takes roughly the amount of time you'd spend riding an elevator with someone.What are the five points that should be in an elevator pitch? ›
- Relate to their problem.
- Explain the solution.
- Detail why your product is unique.
- Personalize the message.
- Craft a compelling call-to-action.
A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. It should be interesting, memorable and succinct. It also needs to explain what makes you – or your organization, product or idea – unique.
According to Winograd, an ideal elevator pitch should provoke interest, be interesting and memorable, and last about 30 to 60 seconds (the length of an average elevator ride, hence the name). Any longer and you risk losing your audience's attention; any shorter and you might leave out important information.What is a good hook for an elevator pitch? ›
Your pitch should hook your audience in
Use your hook as the first sentence in your message, making it about your objective, your listener, and your approach. It can be a dramatic or humorous statement, or a personal anecdote. It can also be a question that you answer straightaway.
- A comfort level and rapport between you and your audience. Who you are. ...
- “My name is X, and I've been asked to speak to you about Y because Z.” ...
- “Good morning, my name is X. ...
- “Good morning, my name is X, and I'm here to talk to you about Y. ...
- “Hi, my name is X.