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“If you want me to speak for two minutes, it will take me three weeks of preparation. If you want me to speak for thirty minutes, it will take me a week to prepare. If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready now.” – Winston Churchill

Like many sage leaders, Winston Churchill knew a thing or two about the challenges of writing concisely and precisely.  And he knew, as we do, that coming up with a 30-second elevator speech is no easy feat.

In fact, describing one’s company and what it has to offer in a brief, clear way that leaves a person with a positive impression can seem as difficult as quantum physics. An elevator pitch, therefore, takes serious preparation and, often, the help of an expert outsider who can see the forest for the trees.

So what exactly does it take to make a great elevator speech?

First, simplify.  Try to think about what your company does, and then boil it down to how that is best conveyed in simple terms that anyone can understand.  After all, you want to paint a clear picture, giving your audience a general idea of what you do.

Then, eliminate any technobabble or professional jargon.  Not everyone will understand the terms.  Even if they do, it often distracts from your message.

Next, say what you offer: that very special service, product or solution – in other words, your unique selling proposition (USP). Add one or two sentences about what sets you apart from everybody else.  Be sure to focus on what your prospects think is special, not what you think is special.  Remember the venerable sales axiom: people do things for their reasons, not yours.

The most important part of the elevator pitch isn’t to simply describe your company— it’s to sell your company. It’s about how your company can provide solutions to meet a prospect’s needs, and how it can do so in a way that is superior to other options.

When writing down your elevator speech, keep in mind that the finished description should be about 100 words, or roughly eight to 10 sentences.  Your elevator pitch should take no longer than 30 seconds to deliver. To find out exactly, read it aloud and time yourself. If it’s longer than a minute, it’s too long.

Need help with honing your elevator pitch? Contact us at or call (305) 971-6239.  You’ll have a killer elevator pitch before you know it.

By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage