When you're searching for a job, your potential employees are going to want to know what you're all about. With that being said, they don't want to know that you have two dogs and a cat. This is where an 'elevator speech' comes into play.
An elevator speech is a short summary, expressing what you're all about. The elevator component comes from the time-frame in which you should conclude your speech. The length of time it would take to ride an elevator, is the amount of time you have to sell yourself (approximately 30-60 seconds). This is where you'd focus on who you are, and what you can offer the position. So, how do you create an effective elevator speech?
Knowing Your Target
Before you begin writing your speech, be conscious of who your target is. Whether you're going for an interview or an investment, knowing your target audience is crucial. You want to make them feel like you have something to offer, and that you're unique.
What are you focused on for the future? Make sure you know exactly what you want, so that you can focus on that position. If you are confused with where you want to be, your elevator speech will not be as focused. If you're not as focused as you should be, you may find it hard to get hired.
Write It Down
Once some thoughts have begun to collect, get them down on paper. Nothing is too big or small of an idea, you can edit your speech later. Just write it all down; your skills, where you've been, what you've done, who you've helped or worked under, etc. Once you have all these random thoughts displayed on paper, give yourself a good break. Let your ideas stew and come back after a day.
Now it's time to edit. It may be great that you volunteered at a nursing home for a summer, but if it doesn't relate to your target position; leave it out. Focus in on everything directly related to the position you want. Then, narrow down again. You need to get your speech into the allotted time frame. Make sure you have a hook. You want your opening sentence to create interest. Make them feel intrigued; you want them to be excited, and wanting to hear what you'll say next.
This is not an opportunity to tell your life story. Hit all the key points. You may need to elaborate, but wait until the interviewer asks you specific questions. Just get to the point, they want to know who you are, where you came from, and how you can contribute.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have finished the editing process, your speech should be no more than 200 words. Have your polished points and begin to rehearse. You need to practice your speech, you want it to sound as natural as possible.
Practice in front of the mirror or a family member. The last thing you want to do, is read off a piece of paper. Practice until your delivery is perfect. There won't be much to say, so you need to nail it.
You are trying to sell yourself. If you don't appear to have confidence in yourself, how can a potential employer be confident in what you're saying. Since you would have practiced your speech, you can focus on delivering it with confidence.
You want them to believe in everything you say; leave them wanting more. If you're not confident, your words will not be as powerful. As hard as this may be, do not focus on your own personal success. The person your pitching to wants to know how you can bring them success.
Be Prepared For Questions
Remember that first draft you wrote? It may have been 2000 words, and that effort wasn't a waste of your time. If the employer or investor is intrigued, they'll begin to ask questions. This is when you'll turn to the detailed bits that you left out of your speech. It is time to elaborate if they're interested.
If you mentioned specific skills, they may want to know how you'll transfer those to the prospective position. You never know what they may ask, so just prepare yourself. You will be representing yourself or your business, so these answers should be delivered with ease. The last thing you want is to fumble on your words or not know an answer.
At the end of the day you are representing yourself. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer. As you practice and prepare to the best of your ability, your confidence will grow. Just know what to say and how to say it. If you follow these steps, your elevator speech doesn't need to be an intimidating experience.
Do you have any elevator speech stories? Any tips to share with others? Comment below!
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