Developing Your Elevator Speech

November 2013 - Elevator Speech

Image courtesy of Thomas R. Stegelmann’s photostream

As a college senior, I attended a workshop intended to help soon-to-be graduates prepare for the job hunt. While there, I learned more about something I heard of before, but never really understood: an elevator speech.

I learned that an elevator speech is a short description you give a prospective employer about yourself, your skills and essentially, why you deserve to be the person that earns the job over everyone else. The workshop facilitators stressed that the elevator speech was a good way to get your foot in the door and should only be around 30 seconds long (although other sources say it can be up to two minutes).

While the elevator speech is important to have prepared for when you are trying to earn that new position, I’ve realized it is just as important to have one to promote your current job, or your business. Think about how many times you meet someone at a networking event or another get-together and they ask: ‘Where do you work?’ or ‘And what do you do?’ These questions present the perfect opportunities to share your background, and possibly find a new client in the process.

With that in mind, consider the following when developing your own elevator speech to promote yourself and your work:

1. Explain where you work. Before you even explain your role, explain the purpose of your business and what you offer to customers. This will help with the next point to mention, which is…

2. Share your title – then expand on it. Titles establish credibility and help a person picture what it is you generally do on an everyday basis. But a title doesn’t tell the whole story. Explain what kind of tasks you are in-charge of, your responsibilities and how they help your business or your customers.

3. Be confident, but not pompous. It’s important to take pride in your work and show others you are a knowledgeable resource. But don’t go overboard in your elevator speech. This is supposed to be a short, to-the-point message; keep this in mind and leave out the details that aren’t needed to show your abilities.

4. Include an example. While this might not be necessary (or available) while trying to secure your first job, it certainly is when you’re an established business owner or worker. Make it brief, but illustrate it enough that your listener sees the value in your work.

The beauty of the elevator speech is that it is your own. Make it what you want it to be and share what you want to share. You are the only person who truly knows what all goes into your work, so make that evident – your elevator speech can help you keep moving up!

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