People chatting

For some, the term “elevator speech” may bring up thoughts of pushy salespeople making their pitch.

In fact, an elevator speech can be a useful tool to help leaders and managers explain organizational change or other issues to their teams. An elevator speech provides a short “script” to get the conversation started about what is changing and why. As a result, it’s an essential component of a communication toolkit.

To make an elevator speech “stick,” it needs to focus on the information employees really need to know.

Did you know?
The phrase "elevator speech" refers to the need to present an idea in the time it takes an elevator to travel from the first to the top floor.

Here are three tips for creating an effective elevator speech:
Keep it short.
  • Two to three sentences (30-50ish words)
  • Less than one minute to tell (Remember, you're in an elevator.)
Make it simple. Avoid corporate jargon and complicated explanations.
Provide clear understanding of the change, including:
  • What is changing?
  • Why?
  • What does it mean for us?


An example:
Acme is changing our structure: combining two divisions to build one cohesive organization. This change will improve collaboration to help us become more innovative and customer-focused. Over the next month, as the structure takes shape, we’ll discuss how our team needs to work differently to support the change.