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The Elevator Speech Gets a Makeover

Most of us have heard of the “elevator speech”. It’s a very short blurb, usually about 30 seconds to a minute, introduction about yourself and what you do. Everyone from college students to established professionals tend to use this, in some form, when they meet new people, prospects, and contacts. An elevator speech usually starts out with your name, if not already known. Then it goes into what you do for a living, your skills, desires, etc.

Check out this video on how to form an elevator speech.

Now that you know what an elevator speech is and how to build one, go ahead and forget that concept.

There is a new idea that mocks this “quick pitch” idea. It is becoming known as the anti-elevator speech. The anti elevator speech, as described in an article in Toastmaster, is taking the idea of an elevator speech and twisting it to make the person you are meeting want to know more about you.

It starts with a hook. A hook, in this context, means a short tag line that draws in interest about your work. For example, “I create memories”. Instantly, the average person wants to know more. The article goes on to say you should keep your hook short and confusing.

This sounded strange at first to me, but after thinking about it, it does make sense. I, personally, find it hard to remember names. I find myself making up clever ways to remember them like “Sarah has a red sweater” or “Mike is really tall”. An introduction, like “I create memories”, turns red-sweater Sarah into Sarah, the creative and clever, attention getter.

The second part of the anti-elevator speech is the reel. The article explains this portion of the speech as a chance to reveal what you do without turning your speech into a sales pitch. It basically says to turn the informative portion of your elevator speech into a guessing game. For example, you would tell the person you are meeting that you “create memories” by capturing monumental moments in peoples’ lives using state of the art camera equipment.

This blurb could replace, “I’m a photographer for a local photography studio.”

While the above statement does get the point across, it’s rather vague and a little boring. It’s definitely not memorable to say the least.

In all, this “version” of the self promotion speech is to make your presence memorable and sticky (a Malcolm Gladwell reference). Of course, it should be up to you how you want to present yourself. Not everyone may think something like the anti-elevator speech is appropriate for every situation, but you have to admit, it’s definitely a memory maker.

What other ways have you found to be effective when meeting someone for the first time? Do you think the anti-elevator speech is even a good idea? Sound off below!

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