Until 14 years ago, I didn’t believe elevator speech moments really happened. I changed my mind in 2001.
A long-time business associate encouraged me to attend an industry-specific annual meeting in January 2001. He also told me to be sure to meet John at the meeting because he and his company are very philanthropic. At the time, John was CEO of the company. I knew what John looked like but never had an opportunity to introduce myself to him. He is a very gregarious individual and was always talking with someone else when I would spot him during social events at the meeting.
At the conclusion of the three-day annual meeting I had not met John. I headed back to my hotel room to check out. Just before the elevator doors closed, a hand stuck in between and the doors reopened. It was John.
He introduced himself, I introduced myself and he asked me about the non-profit organization identified on my name tag. I had a 10-floor elevator ride to answer his question and by the time my floor arrived, I asked if I may send him information about the organization and he replied “yes.”
Over the next eight months, I periodically provided John with updates about the organization. In September two employees who reported to John called me. John had asked them to contact me to discuss the organization that I worked for and to make a financial contribution on behalf of the company.
In 2002, the company started with a $15,000 annual contribution, increased it to $30,000 a year, then to $100,000 a year and finally to $200,000 per year. Cumulatively over a 14-year period, the company had given $1.8 million to the non-profit organization.
To think it all began during a 10-floor elevator ride at an industry annual meeting in San Antonio. Do I believe that elevator speech moments happen? You bet. In fact for every organization that I work for as a consultant, I develop talking points for them. These are key points that highlight what’s best about the organization for that elevator speech moment.
A related article: 6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch