St. Louisan Fred Miller makes his living by telling other people how to talk. He coaches people through public speaking and is the author of two books on the topic: “No Sweat Public Speaking” and “No Sweat Elevator Speech: How to Craft Your Elevator Speech Floor to Floor with No Sweat.”
An elevator speech, said Miller, is “that little infomercial that tells people who you are and why you are here,” and "a way to let people know what you do so that hopefully they will want to engage your services.”
In his book on elevator speeches he created a template for crafting them that follows the elevator’s function. As the elevator carries you to each additional floor, you evaluate your interest in continuing to speak, as well as your audience's interest in continuing to listen. You then decide what more to say, or whether to say anything more at all.
According to Miller, there are two parts to every speech, content and delivery, and the way you deliver the speech is more important than its content.
“We believe what we see, so delivery of that elevator speech trumps content,” said Miller.
He also recommended practicing in front of an audience in order to improve your speaking skills.
In December, Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business held an elevator pitch competition in an actual elevator. For fun, watch the promo of the competition in the video below.