10 Tips for a Powerful Elevator Speech

elevator speechQuick! You’ve just met somebody, and they are that crucial contact you were looking for in your job search. Now, what do you say to them? How can you convey to this person who you are and what you are looking for? Easy, use an elevator speech. It’s the 30-second mini-commercial about yourself, and a great tool to to extend your own personal brand to anyone you meet. Whether you are helping some random stranger, bumping into someone at a networking event, or having lunch with for an informational interview, have this speech ready.

These 10 tips will boost the success of your elevator speech when it is needed most:

  1. Establish your personal brand. This is the main message you want to convey. It’s what makes you who you are and what you can offer. Think of how brands have their own identity. What makes Target different than Walmart? Just by reading those two brand names, different images, feelings, and opinions come flying at you. This is the personality of a brand, and you must find yours.
  2. It must be natural. Practice, practice, review and change, then practice some more. This speech has to come out your mouth with confidence and comfort. It cannot sound like a robotic memorization, but rather a bold statement of who you are and what you bring to the table.
  3. Short and with content is key. You’ll want the speech to be brief but conveys the skills and experiences you have and what you are looking for in a short and sweet statement. If it is long and drawn out, you run the risk of sounding impersonal and not genuine. Only a few sentences are needed. The elevator speech is called simply that because it is named for the short time you are in an elevator with someone.
  4. Use a verb. Your first few words should be a verb. Such as I “am” a banker. I “have” five years of experience. Any statement that is conveys who you are, what you do, and what you offer.
  5. Confidence is key. You must believe in yourself and your elevator pitch; otherwise, failure is the only outcome. This is no time for being shy and very modest. If you were employee of the month say it. Don’t hide from your accomplishements for fear of sounding like you are bragging. Unless you are, then stop. Nobody likes a bragger.
  6. Be engaging. This is an off-shoot of the previous tip. Your elevator speech is your commercial so how do you get people to buy? Same way brands do, they build interest. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. People are generally helpful so make sure you are talking with them, not at them.
  7. Be nice and smile. The person or persons you are speaking with is just that…a person. They have feelings, reservations, and interests so be kind and remember why this conversation is happening and what each party is getting from it.
  8. Don’t blabber. Silence can say more than words. Let your audience know you are genuine and looking for assistance. Give your speech and then let them talk.
  9. Always leave them wanting more. In any speech, interest is key so give your elevator speech, and then find a hook that leaves an opening so your audience can follow-up with info. about themselves or questions about you. Your hook depends on the situation. If time is short and you’ve met a HR Rep. in a company you are trying to get into, then state your speech and say: “I’d like to learn more about you and your company. Could we get coffee sometime so we can talk more? Here’s my business card, do you have one?”
  10. Have more than one elevator speech. Different times, call for different tactics so have more than one elevator speech that is catered towards the right length of time, your audience, and where you are. A very professional speech would sound awkward if you just bumped into someone at Wegmans and sparked up a conversation about life. That’s right. These speeches are not just for formal networking events. They are to be used anywhere at any time, and each elevator pitch should be flexible and able to adapt to any situation. Mind your surroundings and know your audience.

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