Elevator Speech

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Elevator Speech

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When we train people to advocate, each person learns how to make their own "elevator pitch"--a super short, compelling speech for a cause. Elevator pitches become your own personal talking points, and help you make your case concisely (e.g., if you happen to be in an elevator for two minutes with the Texas governor). Use elevator pitches when talking to elected officials, journalists, or anyone you want to convince that your issue for children needs attention. Keep it short, and hit these four themes:

Open strong: Why this matters

Start your elevator pitch with something that gets your listener's attention. This may be something that offers the big picture: whatever connects to a value that your listener holds dear. If you are talking to someone in your elected official's officen, a strong opener to include is mentioning who you are and that you live in the district! Keep your opening statement to one sentence if possible. You'll know you've struck on the right opener if it answers why what you care about really matters, not just for you but for your audience and the community.

"I'm from your district, and I'm here to talk about how bringing health insurance to kids is good for communities, families, and the bottom line."

Discuss the problem: Context in a nutshell

Next, address the cause of the problem for which you are seeking a solution. Bring your personal story to bear, if you have one. Explain why this issue touches you and your community personally. Your authenticity and presentation will help get your audience past any roadblock in their thinking, and see eye to eye with you faster.

"As an E.R. doctor, I've seen firsthand what happens to children without health insurance. . ."

Provide the solution: The fix

Always follow your description of a problem with a proposed way to solve it. You might support your solution with evidence of how and where it has worked, how it has proven cost-effective, and the benefits it will bring to others. You can cite a recent study or report, or simply expand on your first-person account of how the solution would make a real difference for you or others.

"Simply providing coverage through CHIP or Medicaid allows kids to see a doctor in a doctor's office, not the E.R. This approach helps families, and it also costs far less to the community and taxpayers, in the end."

Deliver your call to action: The ask!

Finally, ask for action. Continue to try to connect to the values of your listener, and be clear about what you want. Ask for something specific, which you can follow up about in your next communication with this person. Often your call to action will be a simple yes-or-no question. Remember, your pitch isn't over until you make your ask!

"Will you vote for SB 123, so more children can get health coverage through CHIP and so communities like ours start spending less on routine treatment in the the most expensive place--the E.R.?"

Once you have finalized your elevator pitch practice it. Soon enough, delivering it will feel natural and convincing. Now you are ready to go out, and spread your message!

For sample elevator pitches and tips on polishing your own, download the Texans Care for Children Advocacy Manual.


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