Write an Elevator Speech

What's an elevator speech?

Elevator speeches are brief opportunities—maybe one minute or less—to pique the interest of anyone whose ear you’d like to bend about libraries.

When you’ve got great elevator speeches in your toolkit, you’re ready to snap up an advocacy opportunity wherever it presents itself—the library, the coffee shop, the park, the alderman’s office, or quite naturally, the elevator.

The goal of your elevator speeches shouldn’t be to tell listeners everything you want them to know about libraries. Instead, your speeches should answer the questions, “What do you do, and why is it important?” 

Ultimately, you want your listeners to say, “Tell me more!” or ask, “How do you do that?”

By using value-based language (VBL), you can create action-oriented elevator speeches that shift the emphasis away from the programs or services you provide and onto the youth and families you impact. What better way to express how what you do makes an everyday difference and changes lives?

How do I write an elevator speech?

Here’s a VBL template for writing awesome elevator speeches:

I help [insert target audience] [insert verb phrase] at the library so that [insert proven/expected positive outcome for target audience].

Example 1 (Storytime): I help parents and caregivers promote kindergarten readiness at the library so their young children can start school ready to learn.

Example 2 (Summer Reading): I help youth and families read, discover, and create at the library so they can become critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

Example 3 (Volunteer Program): I help kids increase their civic engagement at the library so they came become global citizens who vote on the issues that matter to them.

Check out the awesome elevator speech infographic created by the ALSC Public Awareness Committee for more details and great visuals!