Only 3 Things Matter in Your Elevator Speech

Sara Leonard News, Stories

Gail Perry joined us in Tampa for a day of laughter and learning. Her topic was “Fired-up Fundraising for Board Members.” She conveyed her deep passion for nonprofit fundraising and provided innumerable practical tips to the nonprofit staff and board members who attended.

Gail spent a good deal of the morning session helping us work on our “elevator speeches.” This is a term that gets used — and sometimes abused — a lot. Some authors will say it doesn’t matter, but Gail showed us why it is important and how we can improve it. The importance arises when we have an opportunity to introduce our organization to someone quickly. If we aren’t prepared, the opportunity will pass and usually never returns.

To improve it, Gail instructed us to think of the three things that matter:

  • What you say: Get your words right; make sure it’s interesting; draw a person in with real stories about how you are changing lives.
  • How you say it: Be aware of your body language; make sure that your enthusiasm shows in your voice; be mindful to express your passion.
  • Whether you engage the other person in conversation: Be careful not to be the only one talking; this is not a monologue. Gail suggests asking, “what are your impressions?” often so that you can learn what the other person thinks.

To learn more lessons from Gail Perry, visit her website. She writes a great blog and has many helpful (and free) resources. Also, add her book Fired-Up Fundraising to your library; it’s a practical guide to engage your board members in fundraising.