You are attending a local chamber event, representing your organization. A new chamber member approaches you and introduces himself. He then asks the question that you dread, “What does your organization do?” How do you quickly explain your complex organization using language that anyone can understand?
In order to be prepared for situations like this, you need to develop an “elevator speech”! What is this? It is a brief summary that clearly and succinctly defines your organization and its value. The summary should be able to be delivered in the time span of a typical elevator ride, thus the name!
Let’s get started. Sit down with a pen and paper and answer the following questions:
- What does your organization do? Briefly describe what you do.
- Who does your organization serve? Describe the individuals you are trying to service, i.e. children, adults, volunteers, businesses, etc.
- Where is your organization located? Define the geographic parameters of your organization.
- How does your organization provide its services? Briefly describe how your organization delivers services to the populations in your region.
- Why does your organization do what it does? Outline what need your organization fills and why this is important to individuals for whom you provide services.
- Why are you passionate about your organization? Demonstrate your own dedication and commitment to the organization with energy in your response.
Look at your written responses to each of the questions. Format them into a short speech. Make sure that you eliminate all jargon so that it is easy for anyone to understand. Practice your speech out loud to make sure that your written words can be spoken naturally and easily. Revise as needed. Finally, develop several variations of your speech. Sometimes you may have only 15 seconds to share information about your organization while other times you may have up to three minutes.
Now you have an elevator speech. You can quickly and effectively share information about your organization in a brief period of time. Can your employees do the same thing? Can your board members? Are you all sharing the same message? This might be a great time for your entire team to develop an elevator speech for your organization! Take time in a staff meeting and a board meeting to undertake this task. This will ensure that everyone in your organization provides a consistent message if asked “What does your organization do?”!!
Please share your elevator speech with me when you have finished this exercise. I look forward to hearing from you!