The Truth About Training – An Elevator Speech

07 May

Tom Hallett, writing for (n.d.), offers six tips for creating a compelling elevator pitch:

“To craft a great pitch, follow these steps.

  • Identify your goal.
  • Explain what you do.
  • Communicate your USP (unique selling position).
  • Engage with a question.
  • Put it all together.
  • Practice.”

With these tips in mind, here is the hypothetical elevator speech I might use to engage an internal customer who is not convinced that training could be of any use to him or to his organization:

“Training used to be considered to be out of touch with the reality of the business, just rolling out initiatives that came from headquarters without regard to how those initiatives would either be received or implemented by the front line. Sometimes you felt like you were the support staff for us, didn’t you? The truth is that it’s you – the trainees, the managers, and the directors, who are the real customers (Noe, 2013, p. 93). You are the ones we have to satisfy; you are the ones we have to schedule around; and you are the ones whose budgets we have to respect and work within. That’s the way we’ll help you get the results you want.

A lot of people think that training is just about delivering information, or “checking the boxes.” Nolen, nothing could be further from the truth? Tell me, how do you measure your stores’ success – balanced scorecard, right (Noe, 2013, p. 73)? What would you say if I told you that our District Trainers are rated based on that same scorecard and how their districts perform? It’s true! Hal up in District 9 came up with a coaching focus for his district that resulted in a 23% increase in accessory revenue! We’re now rolling that same method to other districts around the state.

Nolen, in these days when your store managers have so much thrown at them, there’s a real temptation to ignore some of it. That’s why you are the third and maybe biggest training truth. Many still see us as separate from Regional leadership, and you can be the one to debunk that myth. When you as a leader communicate support for training initiatives, and speak to the reasons and vision behind initiatives, your front line listens! They are more likely to include their staffs, and again results increase. Can we get together tomorrow to talk about how we can better align to get your team where you want them? Thanks!”

Here is my elevator speech in audio:


Hallett, T. (n.d.). Crafting an Elevator Pitch – Communications Skills From Retrieved from

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training & development (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.


Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


7 responses to “The Truth About Training – An Elevator Speech

  1. heatherborelli

    May 8, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Hi Gordon

    I’ll be following you, I look forward to reading your posts.


  2. lorisidtblog

    May 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Gordon, I am now following your blog. I look forward to reading your posts this session!

  3. Amber Krueger

    May 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hi Gordon,
    Great elevator speech! I liked how you focused on the individual you are speaking to as the customer and providing specific examples for increasing revenue. As we discussed previously in our Performance Improvement class and again this week in our Training and Development class organizations continue to be faced with tight budgets and doing more with less. Making your case for training with providing an example of how others have had successful results and increased revenue was very effective in my opinion at getting someone interested in talking further and collaborating on creating training initiatives that positively impact their department and are a worthy investment.

    Thanks for sharing your elevator speech and tips on creating an effective elevator speech!

  4. heatherborelli

    May 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Hi Gordon

    Using a personalized approach in your elevator speech was an effective mechanism for demonstrating the value-added potential of training while placing the power to act and be the driving force squarely in the listeners hands. Acknowledging the misconception that training is “just about delivering information or checking off boxes” and then providing a real world example of how the training function is measured using the same matrix as the listener was a smart why to underscore the importance and value of training without being overbearing or sounding hyperbolic. Your speech was personal, well organized, and direct yet friendly in tone. Closing with a request for a meeting seems like the right approach as you expressed in previous courses that this is the norm within your organization.

    Unfortunately, using the same approach within my organization would net very negative results. The leaders in my organization prefer a softer approach; they would perceive your pitch as too direct and the direct request for a meeting would be seen as overstepping. It all comes down to knowing your audience and adjusting your pitch to their preferred communication style and aligning the presentation with the organization’s cultural norms.

    Well done, thanks for sharing an example of an effective elevator pitch for a direct communication style environment.


  5. gaylesimon2

    May 11, 2014 at 11:58 am


    Your elevator speech is great. You not only addressed the difficulties companies have in aligning training initiatives with daily functions and expenses. Training provides a way for companies to gain success, increase employee knowledge and skill, increase revenue, and keep track of growths on their balanced scorecard.

    You presented in your speech concrete evidence that supports training initiatives and an ego-building character quality for those that support, implement, and perform those initiatives. They set a new standard of leadership and professional expertise. Training leads the company to greater success with its people, customers, products, and strategic goals.

    Thank you, Gordon.


  6. Demetria Miles

    May 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Gordon! I will be following you! Follow me at
    Thanks! Demetria

  7. Judi Pochran

    May 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Gordon, I really enjoyed your elevator speech. You had such a natural, conversational tone that I thought was very effective. Thanks for sharing the information on creating elevator speeches. I thought it was very helpful.


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