ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Elevator Pitch - Does Your Elevator Speech Bore People ?

Updated on March 18, 2013

If your elevator pitch doesn't lead to a question, don't bother giving it.

Whoever coined the phrase “elevator pitch,” also known as an "elevator talk" or “elevator speech,” was brilliant. The idea is that you meet someone while getting onto an elevator on a high floor. You engage each other in conversation, and you are asked the question, “What do you do?” You have a minute or so before the car reaches the first floor, so what you say in response has to be compelling and leave the other person wanting to know more. Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t memorize what they’re going to say because they don’t want it to sound canned? Nonsense! Jot this down: the more you memorize something you want to say, the less canned it will sound. The words are firmly embedded in your head, freeing you to act natural and answer questions. Your elevator talk should not be a simple recitation of your business card.

One of the problems with an elevator pitch is that everybody has one or is working on one. They have become so common in business that we start to block them out. Have you ever been to a networking event? Of course you have. What did it sound like? That’s right, a bunch of people giving each other elevator talks that go nowhere. Consider this: an elevator talk needs to lead to a question, from the listener to you. If your elevator talk does not result in a question, it’s not worth giving the talk. Let’s look at a few examples, all of which answer the question, “What do you do?” and all of which result in a question:

Bad: “I sell old auto parts.”

Better: “I prevent people who work on old cars from going insane.”

Bad: “I’m a financial planner.”

Better: “I pick up where economists leave off.”

Bad: “I’m an intellectual property lawyer.”

Better: “I help people to capitalize on what they produce.”

Bad: “I’m an accountant.”

Better: “I run numbers and make people happy with the results.” Yes, humor can be an excellent part of your elevator talk.

Bad: “I’m an insurance broker.”

Better: “I make the future less scary.”

You get the idea. The objective of an elevator talk is to say something interesting that makes the other person want to ask questions. Have you ever heard the conventional wisdom that elevator talks should summarize what you do in two or three sentences? Sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong. Imagine an insurance agent telling a listener that he “helps people preserve their assets, avoid calamity, and secure their future by making the future more predictable; and uses various products to accomplish those goals.” Yada, yada, yada. Yakitty, yakitty, yak. He lost the listener at the word assets . It makes you want to pry open the elevator doors and jump off. Instead, how about a simple and punchy phrase with the sole objective to solicit a question from the listener ? Then, you will be answering the listener’s questions, and people who ask questions usually listen to the answers.

You should write (or rewrite) you elevator talk with the goal of getting a question. Consider a few examples, and then try to fashion one for your business. Try to add an element of humor. What you’re doing is changing your elevator speech from a quick summary to a conversation starter. Oh yes, be prepared to answer the question “what does that mean?” If you get that question, your elevator talk in on its way to success.

All of the following are responses to the question “so what do you do?” Put the first personal pronoun “I” or “we” in front of each answer.

· Real estate agent: “__help make dreams reality.”

· Exercise equipment sales: “__ help adults to become kids in a playground.”

· Car dealer: “__get people to where they want to go in style.”

· Business coach: “__ get business owners in shape for the big game.”

· Disaster cleanup company: “__make hurricanes look like they never happened.”

· Estates and trusts lawyer: “__arrange long term trips for people’s assets.”

· Personal injury lawyer: “__help people get through mayhem.”

Practice your new, shortened elevator talk with your spouse, your friends and colleagues, and even your kids. Don’t forget to talk to the mirror. Soon, elevators will become your favorite form of transportation.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)