About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

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Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tips For Creating A Rotary Elevator Speech That Works

An elevator speech  provides a conversation starter.  
Written by Robyn T. Braley

How do you explain Rotary? There are so many chapters to the Rotary story that telling it in 4 to 5 sentences is next to impossible. 

But, there is the rub. People today, especially millennials, are accustomed to receiving information in short, concise bytes.  

A short, concise elevator speech provides a place from which to launch into meaningful conversations about Rotary. Crafting an elevator speech will help engage others into your club’s brand experience.       

You can also use it for social media profiles, booking speakers, pitching stories to the media, in brochures, approaching funding partners and many other day-to-day Rotary activities.

What is it?
So, “What is an elevator speech?” It’s not what you think. 
It’s certainly not a spontaneous political speech given by a candidate in an elevator packed with victims praying the door will open at the next floor – make that any floor. Neither is it a motivational speech designed to “lift” Rotarians to new levels of service. 

Nor is it the speech given by the town mayor just before an abandoned Canadian prairie grain elevator is blown to smithereens leaving a mile high mushroom cloud of atom sized dust particiles.

An elevator speech is meant to provide a starting place for launching into a more in-depth conversation about your Rotary club. The conversation will hopefully lead to a relationship with people you want or need to know.

How does it Work?
I use a simple illustration to explain the principle of elevator speeches in my marketing seminar, ‘Bootstrapping with Broken Laces.’

You are in the lobby of a tall building when you spot a prospective client waiting for an elevator. You have been trying to contact this person for months.

Your efforts have been futile because their executive assistant is an all-star gate keeper. You realize you have been given a gift and that this may be your only chance to meet them face-to-face.

You stealthily follow them into the elevator trying hard not to appear relaxed and not creepy. There are just the two of you in the car.

Pleasantries are exchanged between the ground and 2nd floor. Between the 2nd and 4th floor you skillfully bob and weave as you deliver your speech. From the 4th to the 6th floor you ask a probing question or two and listen intently to their answers before transitioning to the final step.

The goal is to “seal the deal” between the 7th and 8th floors. That usually means exchanging business cards, getting an email address, committing to send more information or scheduling a meeting. On rare – make that very rare – occasions it could actually mean, “sealing the deal.” 

Building your Speech
Here is a Rotary model I provide in my Building the Rotary Brand seminars. Before you read it I need to make full disclosure about the information. It’s made up. It is a figment of my imagination. It’s pure fiction.

Why do I feel I need to clarify this point? After one seminar and a Rotarian came up after asking if the Greenvale club was in District 5360. True story!

Start by writing a club profile. You may find it helpful to read previous blogs What is My Rotary Club’s Brand? and Marketing to New Members; the Power of Rotary

The Greenvale Rotary Club Profile
      Group of like-minded professionals
      Meet Thursdays at 7 am in the Holiday Inn
      Share a vision for making a difference
      Support children, families and education
      Weekly speakers about things that matter
      Diverse, inclusive, welcoming
      Adhere to a clear set of values and principles

Final Edition
The Greenvale Rotary Club is a group of like-minded professionals who have a passion for making a difference in our city and around the world. We are leaders who love helping people with a focus on children and families.
Each week our members are inspired by excellent speakers who inform us about interesting topics or challenge us to be better people. We enjoy the friendship of fellow Rotarians who also like to have fun. We meet every Thursday at 7:00 am at the Holiday Inn. 
Less Is More
Does that describe your club? The challenge is to use the fewest number of words possible. If your speech is really well crafted, it will highlight your clubs benefits and hint at why the person you are talking to may want more information. 

I’ve used my business speech during telephone cold calls, in emails, at business receptions, social events, funerals, weddings, conferences, concerts, in church foyers and during Rotary luncheons. And yes, even in elevators. 

It took time to develop a speech that rolled off my tongue and didn’t sound rehearsed. Now our entire team uses a personalized version of the same one. It has become part of our brand. 

Real Life Example
My passion for Rotary service is our club’s speakers program. I use the elevator speech to invite prospective speakers.

Would you consider speaking to the Calgary West Rotary Club on Friday, April 24th or Friday May the 29th? We meet at the Grey Eagle Hotel and Event Centre at noon.
We are a vibrant club of about 75 members with an average of approximately 55 at each luncheon. Calgary has a strong speakers program that features experts talking about a variety of topics.
While we support numerous local humanitarian organizations like the Food bank and Habitat for Humanity, internationally we tend to focus on micro-credit projects, building houses for the poorest of the poor in Mexico, and building 13+ schools in a remote area of Guatemala. Lots of clean water projects as well.

Make It Live
Your elevator speech will be a living, breathing thing. Edit, polish, slash and brutally cut. 

After you’ve written your speech – and note the word written - put copies on your desk, in your car and in your bathroom. Practice saying it out loud. Role play it. Street test it. When you say it the first time or two, it will probably feel clumsy. Go back, revisit and re-edit. 

Now, follow your prospect into the elevator remembering not to appear creepy. Press the close door button and enjoy the ride. 

Eight Tips for Crafting a Powerful Elevator Speech
 Define what makes you unique?
2. Identify hot words that resonate in the market you’re selling into.
3. Craft three to four short sentences. Cut the fat.
4. Research powerful action words that apply to what you do.
5. Identify a key benefit you offer.
6. Inject energy, enthusiasm and passion.
7. Be proud – not in a bragging but a confident way.
8. Smile, be warm and engaging. Be a person the prospect would like to learn more about.

Robyn Braley is a marketing specialist, keynote speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. Robyn has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. 

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   LinkedIn Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary  Sound Cloud  Flickr

Other Blogs in the Series 

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for this guides, I learnt a lot from your blog. We are elevator maintenance service in Vietnam