The idea of an “elevator speech” has been around for a long time. It’s mostly aimed at people in the early stages of their career, based on the idea that they might, at some point, be caught in an elevator with the CEO and be asked: “So, what do you do around here?” They have a limited, critical window of time to provide a succinct, compelling answer that impresses the boss.
A few years ago, we wrote about the importance of crafting an elevator speech for your company. It’s important for any business owner to be able to summarize the company’s offerings in a concise, attention-grabbing format. We emphasized the need to tailor your elevator speech to the audience. (You’ll explain it differently to a potential client versus a potential vendor or a curious neighbor or your hairdresser.)
So why are we bringing this up again? Because you need an elevator speech. Yes, you. The executive. You’re probably not at risk of being caught in an elevator with a superior and have to defend your role (though there are always those board members…).
You need an elevator speech because you need to be able to articulate your value proposition. Sure, you may have an impressive title, but what do you bring to the table? What is your specialty? What quality do you possess that makes you totally indispensable? If you disappeared tomorrow, in what ways would the company be left in the lurch?
That’s your elevator speech. Know your strengths and be able to put them into words. It’s not bragging if it’s accurate, and especially if it’s worded carefully. Everybody knows you’re the [insert fancy title here]. That’s on your business card. But what do you do?
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