Going Up? Preparing your elevator speech

An “elevator speech” is a concise, punchy, planned description that overviews the value provided by a person or organization. The name reflects the fact that an elevator speech can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words). The idea of an “elevator speech” is to have a prepared presentation that grabs attention and says a lot in a few words.

It is important to have your elevator speech prepared at all times — and for you to prepare your Board members.  At the next board meeting, do a quick workshop with the Board members to help them hone their elevator speech about the organization.  Offer them facts about the organization that they can insert into their speech.

Developing Your Elevator Speech

  • What is my purpose? What am I trying to accomplish?
  • What would be a successful outcome?
  • How do I want people to feel?
  • What do I want people to remember?

Basic elements of an effective elevator speech:

  • Concise
  • Clear
  • Informative
  • Engaging
  • Finish with a Request

Sample Elevator Speech

“I am (insert name) Board member of the (insert name of nonprofit organization). The (insert name of nonprofit organization) is dedicated to (insert mission statement). I serve on the Board because (insert your passion for being involved with the organization).  Did you know we serve we (insert fact about organization’s programs, like: 15,000 students each year at the Nature Center)?  Through our programs (explain about your programs). We are always looking for community members to be more involved with the (insert name of nonprofit organization). Can I invite you out for a tour?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Emily Davis says:

    Great post. I think it is also really important for board members to actually know the organization’s mission statement. Most of the time mission statements are so long that people can’t remember them – that’s part of the art of creating a mission statement. If the mission statement is too long (more than one, short sentence) then make sure the org has a kind of tagline you can refer to.

    I like the pitch at the end of this. It’s important for individuals to have elevator pitches for themselves as well as for their organizations. Some great advice I once got was to have a mission statement for myself.

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