The Best Way to Develop an Elevator Speech for Your Organization

people holding speech bubblesI conduct a lot of branding and strategy workshops. My Creative Director Alex and I conduct them and we cover a lot of ground. We ask about the history of the organization, what they stand for, their signature benefits, why individuals and organizations join and why they remain, and so much more!

My favorite part of the workshop comes when we ask clients how they describe their organizations to:

  • Their mom
  • Their neighbor at a BBQ
  • A 12th grader
  • A 5th grader
  • A legislator

The discussions usually begin with talk of mission, vision, and values. We dissect a lot of industry jargon and we unravel a lot of acronyms.

Inevitably, the best descriptions come when staff and members tell us how they describe their organizations to 5th graders. There’s something about stripping away the acronyms and the jargon that usually produces a succinct and compelling elevator speech.

Some of my favorites from over the years:

  • A trade association: We help our members make money and stay out of trouble.
  • A union in the construction trades: We make the buildings in our city beautiful.
  • A company that manages a database of government RFPs: We help the federal government get the highest quality work, for the least amount of money.
  • A professional society in engineering: Our members make the world’s waterways safe for commerce and travel.

The next time you’re struggling with a way to describe your organization, try talking to a 5th grader. Then capture the language that resonates best with said 5th grader, make it graceful, write it down, and train your staff and members to use that language.

What’s the Matrix Group elevator speech? We help associations and nonprofits create amazing member journeys. We do it through web, mobile and social.

What do you think of our elevator speech? What’s YOUR elevator speech? Please share!

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