Oct 31

What is an Elevator Speech?

elevator speech

The Problem – Analysis isn’t Read by Decision Makers

You just completed a great analysis of your market showing promising opportunities for the company. You spent a week finessing the models and did the data mining using your company’s new BIG DATA system. You gave the 100 slide deck to your boss. And then… nothing.

What went wrong?


The Solution – Write An Elevator Speech!

The elevator speech tantalizes the listener to want to learn more. If you have crystallized your thoughts enough explain the reason for action to someone in the time it takes to ride an elevator, then you are is almost certainly aligning expectations with results.

It’s easier writing 100 slides with walls of words than distilling the issue and the action down to a 30 second or less summary.

The elevator speech concept was best described in Geoffrey Moore’€™s 1991 book, Crossing The Chasm.

How do I write an Elevator Speech?

The elevator speech addresses 7 key points:

  1. Who is the target customer (e.g. For project managers)
  2. What is the unfulfilled need (e.g. who need to understand agile tools)
  3. Product name (e.g. The Rubber Chicken Agile program)
  4. Product category (e.g. is a guided training module)
  5. Key benefit or reason to buy (e.g. that rapidly puts knowledge in the minds of teams and stakeholders)
  6. Key competitor or alternative (e.g. unlike taking years to try and fail at other methods)
  7. Primary differentiation (e.g. our product immediately aligns the team’€™s though processes to achieve success)

Try it out right now. Describe a project you’€™re working on today using the project vision and elevator speech. After a while, the technique will become second nature to you. The project vision and elevator speech needs to be up front and visible on a daily basis. The customers, product manager, programmers, engineers, and any other stakeholders on the project should know the project vision and the elevator speech.

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