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My experience researching elevator speeches

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In advance of one of our recent media training workshops one of the participants asked if I could spend some time on elevator speeches.

We pride ourselves on customizing our workshops to best meet the needs of participants, so as long as it is communications related, we do this. Usually it is a request to focus on one media or the other, or crisis situations, or how to go about getting good publicity, that kind of thing.

This is the first time we were asked to spend some time on elevator speeches.

What we teach about messaging are skills that are quite transferable from dealing with media to public meetings to one-on-one, and of course elevator speeches would be included.

But I wasn’t terribly comfortable that there aren’t specifics to elevator speeches I wasn’t aware of, so as part of my preparation I hit Google to see if there were any words of wisdom or techniques I should be aware of.

I did find a bit to add to my content but what struck me more than anything else is the amount of crap I found. Some of the advice defied common sense and it was obvious whoever wrote of this stuff had no clue whatsoever about effective communications.

I actually read that in an elevator speech, the most important thing is to make sure you highlight your biography, where you went to school, who you worked for, list your accomplishments, yadda yadda yadda. Can you imagine? Other advice was along the same line. This coming from people who apparently own or work in media consultancies.  That’s scary.

The problem with this, of course, is that people without a communications background may believe it.

I know it’s impossible but as I read from some of these sites I couldn’t help wishing there was some kind of standard people who purport to be authorities on a subject have to meet.

The take away, and no surprise here, is don’t believe everything you read. Or, maybe more on point, if it sounds stupid, that’s because it is.     

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