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A Commando Approach to Compliance: Master the Compliance Elevator Pitch

By Pauline Blondet (Updated )

As we have discussed before, we are all in the business of selling compliance, whether we like it or not (see: A Commando Approach to Compliance: 3 Steps to Get Every Department Excited About Compliance). This means that every single time we interact with new people in our company is an opportunity to sell compliance. The easiest way to do so is to have your compliance elevator pitch ready, in a properly engaging and stimulating way.

This systematic show and tell exercise will not only raise awareness of your function and profile but will also allow you to informally influence how people talk about compliance in the organization. If you frame what you do in an engaging, simple, and convincing way, it is very likely that this message will trickle through the organization.

Compliance is everyone’s business, you know that. It means everyone you encounter in a corridor, meeting or elevator, shall exit that encounter feeling responsible, excited, empowered and ready to spread the word about compliance!

So, how do we get there? When people ask you what you do, what compliance is about, tell you that a related process is cumbersome, or whenever you have the opportunity to present your activity you want to frame it right.

compliance technology

4 Steps to Mastering Your Compliance Elevator Pitch

1. Setting the Scene

Remember, attention is a scarce resource, and you want to speak to the reptilian brain of your interlocutor, getting her or him intrigued (we have explored that element when we practiced getting your board convinced in A Commando Approach to Compliance: Get Your Board on Board).

So your goal is to retain their attention extremely quickly.

As Olen Klaff puts it in Pitch Anything, your message has a few seconds to be classified by your audience as follows:

  1. If it’s not dangerous, ignore it. 
  2. If it’s not new and exciting, ignore it. 
  3. If it is new, summarize it as quickly as possible—and forget about the details.

As a result, “unless your message is presented in such a way that the crocodile brain views it to be new and exciting—it is going to be ignored’”.

In a nutshell, it is about finding that subtle balance between gently disrupting without triggering the fear circuits of the brain that you face. To do so, you want to keep the message high level, dynamic and present contrasting options. To the contrary, you want to avoid big chunks of abstract information and too many details.

This applies even more to your compliance elevator pitch, where you have less than 2 minutes to make your point.

2. Preparing Your Pitch

Below you will find a proposed high-level methodology to build a powerful pitch.

Pitches are typically composed of three very simple steps:

  • Step 1 - Introduce yourself and your purpose;
  • Step 2 - Explain what we face;
  • Step 3 - Introduce the solution.

Now let’s apply this methodology to what you do for a living and why you do it.

Step 1 - Introduce yourself and your purpose:

My name is X and I am Ethics & Compliance Officer. My role is to protect the company and its employees and create a culture of integrity.

Step 2 - Explain what we face: 

We face demanding & complex regulations (anti-corruption, trade sanctions, etc.) that can trigger huge fines, prison time while threatening the reputation and sustainability of our business. Similar industries are being scrutinized by authorities as we speak.

Step 3 - Introduce the solution: 

To manage these risks and protect everybody, I coordinate the implementation of a compliance program in our company towards all operations and employees, to help us avoid fines and prison but will also have a sustainable and deep cultural impact, maintain the company’s reputation, protect its bottom line and help us secure the future of our business. To do so, I need everybody’s support.

The above example is just a suggestion, feel free to make it your own or tailor it to a specific initiative you have coming up!

3. Delivering Your Pitch

Take the necessary time to prepare. Write down your compliance elevator pitch with bullet points of the main ideas, adjust it as you see fit until it is close to perfection.

Once you have it written down, practice delivering it over and over again until it is natural for you. Once the pitch has been practiced until it becomes second nature to you, you can seamlessly deliver it in any situation in a very casual manner.

While you deliver your pitch, remember that you are selling a fantastic product: compliance. If you are not excited about what you do, who will be? Your enthusiasm for it should be contagious!

4. Going Above and Beyond

Now that you have a simple compliance elevator pitch methodology in your toolbox, you can apply it to anything you need, make it elevator suitable (less than 2 minutes) or make it longer for other contexts.

Identify what you want (more resources, support, budget to deploy a compliance management platform) to be ready to pitch it. Apply the above methodology and adjust Step 3 accordingly. See below for an example about asking for a compliance management software:

I want to deploy a compliance management software towards all operations and employees

Which will help us avoid fines but will also have a sustainable and deep cultural impact, maintain the company’s reputation, protect its bottom line and help us secure the future of business.

I hope this simple yet effective guide will help you manage any elevator ride! No more looking at your feet in an awkward moment, use this time effectively to spread compliance awareness.

A Commando Approach to Compliance

In case you didn’t catch the introductory post, Key Compliance Challenges from the Field: Meet GAN’s Newest Expert, I wanted to fill you in on what ‘A Commando Approach to Compliance’ is all about. In short: it is a blog series that focuses on the very concrete challenges compliance officers face in their day-to-day lives.

The commando aspect of this title refers to the diligent and proactive approach that I believe drives the best results for compliance leaders. This blog series aims to address some of the most common but least addressed hurdles that compliance professionals strive to overcome. Sign up for our newsletter to ensure you are up to date on the latest commando blog posts!

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