How Good is Your Elevator Speech?

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Elevator door at Grand Central
photo credit: 陈霆

We’ve all heard it, we need to be able to describe our company and what we do in the space of time that it takes to travel from one floor to another in an elevator. And even in knowing it, it’s still difficult to conceptualize and spit out unless you’ve taken time to think about it, practice it, and modify it appropriately based upon feedback from those you’re talking to.

What does your conversation with someone you’ve just been introduced to sound like?

Him: “Hi, I’m Joe. What do you do?”
Me: “It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Tisha, I’m an owner at Paradux Media Group”
Him: “Paradux huh? What do you guys do?”
Me: “We’re a traditional advertising agency that specializes using social media, Facebook and Twitter, to expand our message and to create positive word of mouth for our clients. We manage Facebook and Twitter accounts for businesses.”

Short, sweet, but also critical. In those 35 words, a tremendous amount of information is passed, and if I’ve carried my message correctly, the person I’m speaking with now knows that first, Paradux Media Group is an advertising agency, second that we have a specialty, third why we believe that specialty is important, and fourth how we do it.

Now, I have an advantage because there aren’t many agencies doing what we do in social media and usually the person I’m talking to has more questions about my business after that initial conversation. Which I have intentionally set up and which gives me the opportunity to expand on my message without actually giving a speech. If your business is a little more mainstream, you’ll have to work harder to set it your introductory sentence to get the person to ask you another question about your business. But it can be done – with a little planning and word play.

Take a few minutes right now to imagine your introductory conversation and how you want to answer the question, what do? Then practice it so that it becomes habit and your automatic answer. Next listen for how people you’re talking to react – and modify it accordingly. This technique will help you to make sure your message is being carried every time you meet someone new, and will help to create the on-the-ground truth about what your business stands for in the community.


Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

Reader Interactions


  1. Paul Flanigan says

    Great point, Tisha. I want to stress that you cannot rehearse this too much. This needs to be like your favorite song or your favorite motto. You simply have no idea when you’ll need to use it – elevators, parties, talking to the guy next to you in line at Starbucks. Another thing: Modify as needed. Think about buzzwords that are so 2011. Little things like that can make a traditional business sound innovative and exciting.

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