It’s the summing up part that is misguided. Here are two reasons why:
- Your listener doesn’t want to be pitched.
- Your listener can’t absorb and won’t remember a whole elevator speech.
Most listeners do, however, want to be intrigued, inspired or enlightened. So, when you have the opportunity to talk about your institution try this instead. Rather than attempting to sum up what’s great about your institution, give your listener one compelling fact or statement that makes them think “wow.”
Here are a few intriguing statements that apply to some of the institutions I work with:
- Even the presidents of other universities say this university does undergraduate education better than any place else.
- It’s one of the only women’s colleges ranked among the top 25 by U.S. News & World Report.
- It’s one of the best places in the country to do undergraduate research.
- You can graduate debt free and earn two Ivy League degrees for the price of one.
- That one small campus is the birthplace of blogging, hypertext, and the technology behind online shopping – and it’s a liberal arts college!
- It’s been ranked one of the top colleges in the country and one of the most beautiful – they say brains and beauty come together there.
My theory is these intriguing statements are short enough and powerful enough to be remembered and better yet, repeated. I also think they are more likely to engage your listener in wanting to know more.
As the conversation continues you can deliver more wow statements, eventually enlightening them on all the points you might have included in an elevator speech. Only with this approach they want to listen to you and you’re summing up what’s great about your institution in a way they’re more likely to remember.
It’s a theory I’ve been trying with some success. I’d love to hear how it works for you.