“What do you do?” With tradeshow season approaching again, it’s a question that many marketers will be answering – often repeatedly – very soon. While the more traditional school of thought is that an elevator pitch should be no more than 30 seconds long, experts now tell us that 16 seconds should be the maximum length. And, not to discourage you, but at eight seconds most people lose interest. So how do you create an elevator speech that captivates and leaves people wanting to know more?

There are several methods to choose from when cultivating your speech. Read on to learn about several different options. The one or ones that you choose will depend on your company and the situation.

1. Credibility. If your business isn’t well known, try attaching to a company or an industry that gives you clout. Here are two examples: “We run a computer summer camp for kids that is sponsored by Microsoft and features instructors from MIT and Stanford” or “I do catering for major movie and television productions in Atlanta.”

2. Use a story or appeal to emotion. Everyone loves a good story and appealing to emotion can make that story even more effective. For example, “I help make unhappy kids happy again. A mother told me her daughter hasn’t truly smiled in months and now she’s laughing again after attending our summer program for kids that have experienced a loss in the family.”

3. Show them the money. Money is a powerful motivator, whether you’re talking about helping people earn or save more of it. An example might include, “As an independent insurance agent, I help people save money by having established relationships with multiple insurance providers, so I can quickly compare the best policies and rates.”

4. Present a problem and solve it. Show people that you are speaking with that you understand a problem that your customers share and that you know how to solve it. For example, “Imagine driving down the interstate in the pouring rain in a car that has no power steering. Then suddenly your power steering is restored, along with your sense of control. That’s what the ball bearings we produce do for a snowboarder on the slopes.”

5. Make it easy. The path of least resistance is often the favored path. Touting how easy your product or service can make things for your customers can make for a compelling elevator pitch. Examples of this might be: “Imagine avoiding the grocery store and not having to decide what to cook – our subscription meal delivery kit makes dinnertime easy” or “Our marketing automation software makes it easy to connect with your audiences with all the essential modern marketing tools right at your fingertips.”

Remember, your elevator speech must be short, compelling and make the other person feel something. So, when you ask them, “What do you do?” They reply with, “Wait, I want to hear more about you!”

Happy Marketing!