When to Ditch the Elevator Speech and Take the Escalator or the Stairs

by Charles H. Green

You know the “Elevator Speech.” It is the hypothetical answer you would give if you were alone in a high-rise building elevator with the CEO of a potential client. Presumably the CEO says, “Tell me about your company,” or “Tell me why we should work with you.” Your presumed answer—sometimes called “the elevator pitch”—turns out to be a good solution in search of the right problem.

There are situations where a 30- to 60-second answer to those questions is exactly what’s called for. But there are other situations—far more, in fact—where different approaches are called for—let’s call them the Escalator Speech and the Stairs Speech.