Elevator Speech

10 Tips For A Powerful Elevator Speech


An elevator speech (ES) is becoming an important item in the toolkit of most people. It doesn’t matter if you are a job seeker, business person, or gainfully employed professional, you need a powerful elevator speech (ES) to extend and support your personal brand.

Related: 4 Steps For Developing A Winning Elevator Pitch

What you say and how you say it are equal parts to delivering an ES that will either cause people to take notice of you or go to sleep.

How To Deliver A Powerful Elevator Speech

Here are ten tips for ensuring you have an ES that packs a punch:

1. You Have To “Get” What’s Unique About You

If you do nothing else, spend time truly getting what differentiates you, what causes you to stand out. This is what you want in your elevator speech.

2. It Has To Roll Off Your Tongue

You need to write it down and practice it so it becomes second nature to you. This will support a confident appearance when you say it.

3. One Sentence Is Usually Enough

Think short and sweet. Powerful is not lengthy or full of too many words. When you force yourself into one sentence, it causes you to think about each word more carefully so that each one tends to convey more.

4. Your Second Word Should Be A Verb

What do you do? For others? This also forces you into thinking about your results and accomplishments. Get a list of powerful verbs, look them up.

5. You Have To Believe It

If you develop an ES that embarrasses you or causes you to cringe, you either need to beef up your confidence or change what you’re saying about yourself.

6. Give It Attitude

If your ES doesn’t have energy or enthusiasm, then expect it to be received the same way. We like people with confidence and a bit of attitude about their abilities. You’re not bragging, but proud.

7. Smile

It’s hard not to love people who smile. It communicates warmth and confidence. You come across as engaging and someone people would like to know more about.

8. Shut Up

Once you’ve delivered your ES, stop yourself from saying anything else. I know this is a tough one, but people often blather on, which deflates the impact of your ES. When you stop talking, it will also prompt the person you are introducing yourself to to ask about you or introduce themselves. Both results are great.

9. Leave Them Wanting More

A great test of a powerful ES is if they ask you about what you’ve just said. Go have fun with this. Next time you attend a professional meeting, say your ES, shut up and see what happens.

10. Have A Few ES’s In Your Toolkit

ES’s are not one size fits all. You will discover that your audience will be a determining factor in what specific message you want to convey. Once you have your primary ES, think through the various groups of people you are likely to use it with. This will help you decide what needs to get tweaked to make it just right for that group of people.

Your elevator speech is among the first things you do that will form an impression with others. You want it to be just like you – professional and well delivered.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, founder of New Chapter New Life, is a career coach, speaker and author. Download her e-workbook called, Should I Stay or Should I Go?


  1. Work some kind of number into it.

    “I manage IT projects with budgets of $2 million or more, and I’ve deployed systems to over 4000 sites.”
    ” I trained 300 call center employees in 2 weeks, and 6 months later, they were performing at 15% above quota.”
    “I have sold over $500K above my sales quota for 4 years and counting.”

    The numbers get the attention, distinguish you from your less-impressive competition, give a sense of scale to what you do, and beg the question….”Whoah! How’d you do that?”
    The only number I don’t like for an ES is “I have ## years experience”. It doesn’t sound impressive…what if you were a mediocre performer for ## years?

  2. How do you write an article on what makes a great elevator speech without a single example? Maybe like a powerful elevator speech, the article “leaves you wanting more”.

  3. Re your article on elevator speeches. Could you give an example of one and how you start it? It sounds like you just stick out your hand and introduce yourself and what you do for a living? I would find that awkward as the person to whom it was directed.

    • Here is my example, Karen.
      Hi, I’m Joan _____. I work in arts management – just finishing my certification at the university at nights. I work at the ______ Chamber Orchestra and am on the board of the ______ Jazz Orchestra.
      And then I wait for questions. (Or I ask questions about them.)
      Maybe this is too fact based. I am open to suggestions on how to make it better.

      Good points, Dorothy. I tend to be too detail oriented. You would probably be able to improve my ES with more emotive language, but I can’t think of any.

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