An elevator pitch or speech is very short, persuasive and designed to create interest in a project, idea, product—or even yourself. According to MindTools, a good elevator speech should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. It needs to explain what makes you unique. And it should be no longer than a short elevator ride—20 to 30 seconds.
Believing that self-empowerment starts with self-confidence, we have been using elevator speeches as part of our summer program curriculum. It all starts by working with the students to help them define themselves. That includes using gratitude journals that students use to write about what they’re grateful for and self-esteem journals that contain positive aspects of their personalities and physical qualities. The students draw on both journals to write their elevator speeches.
In addition to helping the students with their writing, teachers stress the importance of delivering the speech with self-confidence. “We tell them to look the other person in the eye,” said lead teacher Johnathan Reaves. “If you don’t believe in yourself, others won’t believe in you, either.”
The students also learn the importance of passion. “If a person can feel that you are sincere and true and care about what you’re doing, they’re going to remember you,” said Reaves. “You need to leave an impact, so that when the other person leaves, they’re thinking about something you said.”
The final step in the elevator speech exercise is using boxes to build “elevators” the students use to practice and deliver their speeches. “In the end, we want the students to develop their own voices,” said Reaves. “Elevator speeches are one way to achieve that.”