I am sure that you have heard the term “elevator speech” by now – especially if you are a job seeker. An elevator speech is a short summary used to quickly define a product (you) and your value proposition. The term was coined to reflect the idea that it would be possible to deliver a summary in the time span of an elevator ride or approximately 30 seconds. By giving your speech you will be marketing yourself in a way that makes them want to know more.
An elevator speech does not necessarily have to be done in an actual elevator. If you are attending a job fair or have an interview, the 30-second elevator speech is a definite must.
An elevator speech is intended to give a quick overview of who you are and what you are seeking. It should sound effortless and conversational – not rehearsed. It should be memorable and sincere. However, that doesn’t mean that it should be an off the cuff speech.
This speech needs to be cultivated. You need to put a lot of thought into what you want to say. Remember, it’s only 30 seconds and that’s not very long to make a memorable impression on a prospective employer or even on a new date!
To prepare yourself for this, consider some of the following points:
- What are your key strengths?
- What adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
- What do you want to tell others about yourself?
- What do you have to offer?
- What are your main contributions?
- What do you want the recipient to do after hearing your elevator speech?
These are just a few points to consider but they should help you get started. Take each question and frame a one or two sentence answer. Then when you are done, start combining the sentences until you end up with a few sentence description of who you are, what you want and where you want to go.
This is definitely not an easy task and should not be taken lightly. You can use this speech to get an interview, when you are networking, at a job fair or anytime you need to “sell” yourself. You need to know it like the back of your hand so that it comes out as part of you, not as a speech. You don’t want to ramble but you do want to be warm, friendly, confident and enthusiastic. Always speak with a smile on your face. Don’t rush through it, either. I know that 30 seconds isn’t a long time but if you hone your speech enough, you should be able to breathe through it and still finish it slowly and with confidence in that 30-second time frame.
Experts say that it should be no more than 90 words. Years ago that might have been a problem but in our Tweet society, that’s a tweet and more! So try it. Sit down and start writing about yourself. Yes, it should only touch on the high points but your passion for the industry or for your trade should shine through even in 90 words.
Once you have your speech completed, practice, practice, practice. Stand in front of a mirror and say it. Say it in front of a friend or a group of friends and get their feedback. Yes, this does sound silly but this 30-second elevator speech could be the key to your future. Isn’t it worth getting a few laughs from your friends?
I urge you to create your own speech today and try it out the very next opportunity you get. Let me know the outcome!