When you are in job search or networking mode, you hear a lot about your “elevator speech” and what you should say in the conventional two minute time frame. This sound byte is the message that tells people who you are professionally, so it is vitally important that you map out what you are going to say.
There are at least three major uses for an “elevator speech:”
- You are on the elevator with the CEO and you want let him/her know who you are, and who you are professionally (a weekly occurrence, right!).
- You are in a group networking meeting and have a chance to present yourself to the group.
- You are in an interview and you get some form of the ancient question: “Tell me about yourself.”
The third situation is probably the most challenging and when you need to be the most focused. Some quick guidance that will help you triumph rather than flop:
First, start your thought process by writing down the five top words you would use to describe yourself professionally. Try to use words that convey actions or skills; avoid “hardworking”, “professional”, “thoughtful”, etc. These do not really sell you as an executive.
Secondly, don’t speak in terms of your number of years of experience – speak in terms of what you do to help an organization.
Thirdly, the core of the speech should be shorter than two minutes so you can add some situational emphasis based upon the group (when you use it in a networking event) or the company in an interview.
Lastly, write it down to fix it in your mind.