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Elevator Speech

If you have been in Toastmasters for a while, or if you have ever been in sales, you have heard that you should have an elevator speech.  This mode of promotion is named for the amount of time that you would typically have a captive audience as you ride with them in an elevator.  They can’t escape and have nothing else to consider but the numbers above the door that indicate when they can escape from you.

In reality, the opportunities to use this length of speech are more often at social gatherings or coffee breaks when someone says something like, “what is this Toastmasters thing that I heard you mention?”  At that moment, you have about 30 seconds to interest them and having a prepared 20-30 second speech that sums up what you feel about Toastmasters will serve you well.

What to say:

This article is intended to give you a means to write the speech but the words and ideas need to be your own because that will help you to project sincerity which is key to getting your message across.

Like any other speech,  this should have an opening, body and conclusion and it is best if it has a call to action.


This is an action speech so the opening should be a “we do this” type of statement. Ask yourself, “What is the goal of this elevator speech?”  If you are like me it is to quickly answer the question “What is Toastmasters?”

I start with “Toastmasters helps people speak and lead with more confidence, more clarity and more power.”


Focus on the problems that you solve and how you help people. If you can, add information or a statistic that shows the value in what you do.

For example, Toastmasters is a great organization for improving the language people use, the flow of what they say and the way they get their message across.  In the last 90+ years, Toastmasters has helped over a million people to become better speakers, leaders  and mentors in over 15,000 clubs in 135 countries.

Ask yourself this question as you start writing: what do you want your audience to remember most about you?

Keep in mind that your pitch should excite you first; after all, if you don’t get excited about what you’re saying, neither will your audience. Your pitch should bring a smile to your face and quicken your heartbeat. People may not remember everything that you say, but they will likely remember your enthusiasm.


This cannot be the typical call to action but it can be a question that engages.  Remember as you speak that your elevator speech has two purposes.  first to draw the person to whom you are speaking into a longer conversation and/or second to be memorable so that when they are in a place that would make your ideas interesting, they will think back to your encounter.

For example, you can conclude with a question like, “Have you had the experience of telling yourself, ‘I could have said that better’?  We help with that”