Why you need an elevator pitch

Ian Cook’s excellent Dragon News Bytes drew my attention to an article in the Wall Street Journal on the importance of having a prepared elevator speech. It’s an essential requirement for any CISO, yet one that few security managers have up their sleeves.

Regardless of whether you share an elevator-equipped office with your CEO, every security manager needs to be able to summarise key facts and recommendations in less than ten seconds. Developing the ability to sum up a speech in seconds is essential for presenting to boards as well as for managing the media.

Board directors make quick decisions. They can jump to a conclusion and cut you off before you’ve made your main points. You need to summarise them at the outset of your pitch. Media interviews, no matter how long, also need a brief summary to introduce the programme or article. 

And, most important of all, in today’s world of continuous headcount reduction every security manager needs an instant survival speech to convey their full business value to a visiting McKinsey consultant. So start practicing that pitch if you wish to succeed in big business.