When trying to make the business case for telework internally, it may be helpful to create the proverbial elevator speech. An elevator pitch is the concise summary of what telework means to the organization and what it will do for the organization. As the old adage goes, if you found yourself riding in an elevator with an executive in your organization, what would you say during your short journey to hook the decision-maker on your idea? This short sales pitch is a practice that can be used for almost any type of project or program and has become some prevalent in many organizations that it is almost passé. However, it is still an effective tool for getting your message across quickly and clearly.
You may have already developed your business case, whether it is a detailed document or lengthy series of PowerPoint slides. The elevator speech is obviously based on this but you want to articulate it in about one minute or less. First, consider who the listener or audience may be. What do they care about? What are their “hot buttons”? What do you want them to remember most? You may even develop a couple of different versions based on different audiences. Think about the key benefits the telework program brings to your organization or the risk of not implementing the program (i.e. will you lose key talent to competitors that offer more flexible work practices?)
If the organization has attempted to implement telework in the past and it has not been overly successful, be prepared to add something that will explain why it is different this time around or why the decision-maker should consider revamping the program.
Lastly, add in the timing, whether it is a short-term goal you are striving for or when a decision needs to be made to allocate resources or gain commitment. There has to be some level of urgency, otherwise it is just nice-to-know information.
If you really want to create a concise summary, try the “15 words or less” exercise. In this exercise, you try to effectively summarize the entire program in only 15 words. It may help you nail down what’s really important and the essential key words to communicate. When you are done, test it out on your peers and team members, then make refinements as necessary.