Recently I read The Fine Art of Small Talk. It re-emphasized the importance of networking. It’s short and has big print. My kind of book, it’s worth a read!So, what is an elevator speech? The best explanation is a short memorized speech about what you do for a living. It’s a brief and persuasive description of your company and its product or service offering. Here are some rules to follow assuming you want to develop more prospects from networking events, social events and trade shows (If you don’t get out of sales).So, what makes a great “Elevator Speech”? First, they are less than 30 seconds long. Does that seem short? Time yourself. That’s a lot of introductory material. Mine is about 20 seconds long. Anything more is too much.Second, they’re enthusiastic. Selling is transference of feeling. No one you first meet will be more enthusiastic than you are about what you do. By the way, you should be enthusiastic about what you do or go do something else that you can be enthusiastic about. Watch any T.V. Commercial and you’ll notice how enthusiastic the actors are. Enthusiasm sells!Third, they are clear. They don’t use buzz words or industry jargon. I’ve heard a lot of sales people use acronyms to describe what they do. PFTA, may mean nothing to your new acquaintance. It’s just babble (PFTA means Plucked form thin air).Fourth, if the person you are talking to is a potential prospect, the elevator speech is seen as a starting point or foundation for the sales cycle. This is your first impression to a potential customer. A bad first impression is one mistake you can’t correct. That’s another reason it should be memorized.So, what are mistakes I’ve seen in elevator speeches? One is that it’s too long. People don’t want to know that much on a first meeting. Along those same lines, it can’t be too detailed. Too much detail will make your potential new prospect glaze over. You’ll see the blank look in their eyes.Many times I’ve seen these “Elevator Speeches” delivered un-enthusiastically. Raise your level of enthusiasm, would you rather be associated with enthusiastic people or unenthusiastic people? I thought so, so apply that to yourself.Then there are the sales people who refuse to memorize anything. They’d rather wing it. They must be telling themselves that memorizing doesn’t sound natural. If it doesn’t sound natural, then it isn’t properly memorized. Take the time to write it out and then commit it to memory. Really memorize so it sounds natural and persuasive.Finally, I’ve seen salespeople bore the potential prospect to death. Elevator speeches should get your attention immediately. For example, “I am a salesman for XYZ Company. We’re the largest, best, fastest growing, most popular, etc…”. You wouldn’t say “We are the smallest, slowest, struggling, etc…”. Keep it upbeat at the start and grab the potential prospects attention.So, how should you structure a great elevator speech? It’s simple. The name of the product or service, the company name, and one or two ideas. If they seem interested, the obligating question, “Maybe we can grab a cup of coffee sometime and we can talk more about it.”Does this seem like a lot of work just to tell someone what you do at a meeting, convention or other gathering? It is. Successful people form the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do. It’s one of the secrets of success in sales.