Can you deliver a strong elevator speech? Years ago, I was delivering a workshop for people who had been recently laid off. We were talking about communicating your value and I used the terms 30 Second Commercial and Elevator Speech. A young man in the back raised his hand and asked, “Do you know where the termElevator Speech came from?” I didn’t and he went on to say that he worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. At the time, the corporate headquarters for DEC were in a converted mill in Maynard Massachusetts. The building has five stories.

The story goes that if Ken Olsen, the President of DEC, got on the elevator with a salesperson, he would ask him or her the value they provided for their customers. If he or she was not able to do this well by the time they reached the fifth floor, which took approximately 25 seconds, he was known to fire the salesperson. Is the story true? I would love to hear from someone who knows.

Communicating your Value

If you only have 25 or 30 seconds, here are three possible formats to follow:

  1. Tell your audience what your customers or clients are saying. What are their complaints or challenges?

I typically work with business leaders and owners who say things like: I don’t have the staff I need to service all our guests, we can’t meet revenue goals because we can’t find good sales people, we can’t deliver projects on time because we are short two engineers, we are struggling to man our crisis hotline because we don’t have the volunteers we need. I wonder if you are having difficulty meeting your objectives because you don’t have the people you need.

  • Tell your audience the problems you solve, followed by a statement generally understood to be true. If your audience is nodding their heads in agreement, you are on to something.

We work with organizations struggling to fill positions essential to the survival of their companies. Organizations here in Maine are struggling to find the talent they need to run or grow their businesses. There isn’t enough talent to go around.

  • Tell your audience the problem you solve and share how you are different from your competition.

We help organizations find the talent they need to accomplish their business objectives. Unlike conventional recruiting strategies, we harness the power of relationships and storytelling to help organizations build a pipeline of passive talent.

If you have just twenty-five seconds to deliver your elevator speech be sure to address the problems you solve. For more information, please visit us at Career Rings.


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