Making Your First Meetings Memorable: Crafting a Powerful Elevator Speech

You know the “Oh, how…er…interesting” moment. It happens when someone at a networking mixer introduces himself saying something like this:  “I’m John Doe, and I’m lead widget wizard with United Widgets International.”

What is United Widgets? What do they do? What does he do? How can you connect with him?

You haven’t a clue. You look at his card: just the company name and his contact information. He stands there smiling expectantly.  The conversation sputters to a stop, and you awkwardly move on to the next person.

So the question is – how can you prevent others from having the same response to you?

The solution? Your elevator speech:  a simple sound-bite of an introduction that answers the unspoken questions of every person you meet: Who are you? What does your job or business have to do with me?

So John Doe the widget wizard might say something like: “I create viral online buttons that can send people streaming to your site.” In 12 words, he’s told you what he does, what a widget is, and how he can help you. In other words, he’s given you his unique selling proposition.

So how do you create a powerful elevator speech that markets your work in 30 seconds of face-time?

Share what you do, not your title or employer.

It may be a shock to realize this, but for most people, your title and company name will mean very little – it’s what you do in your company that makes you interesting. So start by describing the primary benefit that your work offers to your listener, in 25 or fewer short, punchy action words – nothing over two syllables if you can help it.

Focus on your service, not your status.

Imagine someone telling you “I’m a lead facilitator for Intermediaries International. I have a Ph.D. in interpersonal relations with a specialty in transactional analysis and have trained at the Berne Institute.” Without similar interests or experience, this is going to mean nothing to you.

Now imagine him or her saying: “I help to defuse tensions in families and in the workplace, and I spend my vacations helping to resolve conflicts in hot spots around the world.” Instant relevance, marketability, and adventure.

Offer Your Card to Lock In the Connection

Only after making that strong personal connection should you identify your company and hand over your card. If you make your meeting memorable, and follow up shortly afterward, that card will hold the energetic charge of your introduction. It will serve as your ticket to further conversations….and potential sales!


  1. It’s always about THEM! Once people learn to take themselves out of the equation and let prospects know what’s in it for THEM, their business will soar! Thanks for the insight 🙂

    • Thanks, Martha! This is the one point I need to make again and again to clients…great as their products/services/companies may be, they’re nothing if clients don’t see the benefit to them.

  2. I’ll definitely echo Martha’s comments!

    An elevator speech is an absolute staple in every marketer’s cupboard. I like how you compared the “right” and “wrong” ways of sharing your expertise and how to add a little spice and adventure!

    You might really enjoy connecting with a very special friend of mine, Felicia Slattery. She’s a Signature Speech Secrets expert. Her Twitter ID is @FeliciaSlattery I have a feeling you two will hit it off.


    • Thanks for your comments, Melanie – and for the suggestion! I’ll certainly follow up with Felicia – sounds like a great connection!

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