As a business owner, I attend a lot of networking events, as I like to meet as many people as possible and learn about my industry. If you’ve ever attended one of these, I’m sure you’re familiar with the repetitive experience of trading business cards, shaking hands and explaining your business in 60 seconds or less.

Is your elevator speech selling you effectively?

Something I’ve noticed is that the people who have polished, compelling elevator speeches are the ones I spend more time talking to, or the ones who seem to have more success making connections at these events. Some meetings even have a portion where each person stands and shares their elevator pitch in front of the group—what a great opportunity to promote yourself to new faces!

However, when your elevator speech is rambling, uncertain or vague, you’re missing a chance to promote yourself and your business to new contacts, as well as potentially harming a first impression.

(And believe me, I can sympathize—I’m still practicing and polishing my own elevator pitch!)

How to nail your elevator speech

There are many perspectives on what makes a fantastic elevator speech, but here are a few great tips:

  1. Put the customer first. Just like with any marketing, the most effective approach is to focus on the benefits to your customer, rather than how great you or your company are. Include a tidbit about how you help clients solve a common problem and your fellow networkers will envision how they or someone they know could be that potential client.  
  2. Tailor to your audience. It’s good to have a go-to elevator pitch, but be sure what you’re saying is relevant to the event you’re attending. Sometimes, it makes sense to tailor your pitch to the people you’re meeting, whether it’s a meetup for small business owners, or a corporate CEO luncheon.
  3. Practice. Public speaking comes naturally to some, but it can be daunting to others, so it’s essential that you practice your elevator speech. Write it down on paper, practice out loud in front of a mirror, practice in front of friends or family, and practice some more. Your delivery will improve the more you practice. Similarly, the more events you go to, the more natural it will become to deliver your elevator speech in conversation; though you want to practice, you don’t necessarily want to sound rehearsed.

As an entrepreneur I’m always learning and growing. What are your best tips for giving a great elevator speech?

Need some help framing your elevator speech to speak directly to your target audience? Check out this buyer profile template and guide to identifying your competitive advantage for some extra guidance.