Elevator Speech For Artists & Creatives – What’s Your Secret Sauce?

__Your elevator speech is not just for elevators!

You need an effective introduction when you meet people. Call it an elevator speech or 60 second commercial. I prefer to call it a story that describes your “secret sauce”

Developing and delivering your elevator speech is hard work and it takes a lot of practice. Almost all people in business struggle with getting that perfect few sentences that roll off of your tongue with ease and conviction – artists and creatives are no exception.

One of the things I do with my Artrepreneurship students at the Center For Innovation is to have them give their elevator speech at the start of every class beginning with the first class session. After the second or third class they know that they will have to give their “pitch” and start to take it seriously – you should take is seriously as well!

When you develop your elevator speech keep in mind two basic adages of advertising:

1. You can’t bore people into buying from you (and listening as well)

2) You can’t put ten pounds of stuff into a five pound bag (keep it short, concise and interesting)

Here are some tips on developing your elevator speech / story:

  • Write it down first and keep its length to a few sentences.
  • Be sure to include your name.
    • “Hi or Nice to meet you, my name is Neil McKenzie”
  • Look your audience in the eye and show genuine interest, don’t speak to the ground.
  • Talk about the benefits you provide to the listener and give them a reason why they should be interested
    • “My story is that today there are so many things that compete for our interest that it is hard to get noticed. I help my clients get noticed with authentic and impactful photographic images for their websites, brochures, business cards and social media”
  • Talk about your experience, credential and skills.
    • “After 30 years as a management consultant and marketing executive creating marketing programs and testing national advertising campaigns I learned what makes an effective ad. I now combine this experience with my photography skills to help grow my clients business”
  • After you tell your story follow it up with:
    • “What is your story?”
  • Keep practicing on your story and keep it mind that it should evolve until you get it right and it flows naturally.
  • You may need variations on your story as your audience changes.

If you are an artist or creative you have an advantage in that you can not only describe the work you do you can also show it to your audience. Consider keeping some small pictures of your work in your pocket and use these a a part of your elevator speech. Better yet, incorporate images of your work into a business card or small brochure to give to your audience.

OK, now it is your turn to try – what is your story and what is your secret sauce?

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto