The idea of having an “elevator speech” is one organizations are familiar with.

But have you ever thought of creating one for yourself?

In these current economic times, there are many people out there looking for work either for themselves or for gaining new clients or contracts for their company.

No matter the circumstance, it’s important to be prepared to capitalize on opportunities that come up at any given moment.

For instance, if someone were to come up to you (perhaps in an elevator) and ask you what you do or what kind of work you are looking for, would you know what to say?

“I, err, umm, really anything would be great,” you might say. “I will do anything!”

Your non-inspired elevator mate will likely nod and smile, wish you luck, walk off that elevator and never think of you again.

But what if you said:

“I am looking for work as a communications professional in the energy sector.” – still pretty generic, but at least now we know a general profession and even industry that you’re targeting.

The concept behind having an elevator speech is that if you were to step onto an elevator and had 30 seconds or less to make your pitch, what would you say?

We should all have that well thought-out mouthful of words at the ready.

Here are three things to consider when creating your elevator speech:

Be Memorable

You want people to remember you after they have met you and heard what kind of work you are looking for. You want to be thought of.

Having specific information about who you want to work for, what you want to do and a compelling reason why you want to do it will all contribute to that potential client or employer hiring you – or at least remembering you enough to think of recommending you.

Be Authentic

It’s no good for me or anyone else to write your elevator speech for you. You need to have words you would say that describe you in your own words.

If you come across sounding stilted or inauthentic, that won’t go very far to help your cause.

You want to be able to connect with your listener, say something that comes from your heart, and accurately reflect the work you want to be doing.

Then your words are more likely to land with your audience and hopefully, they will think of you when a job matching your description, comes up.

Be Specific

You want to start with a short, 30-second phrase that includes the following components:

  • Your skill or how you would benefit a potential employer
  • What you are looking for; your goal
  • A unique reason why you would be a good hire/something specific about you.

For example:

“I am an X who is seeking work in X. I really love working with X because xxxxx.”

Then, once you’ve captured your audience’s attention, you can expand with more detail if they are interested.

You can also adjust it for the person you are speaking with so it relates to them. For example, my elevator speech could go something like this:

“I am a PR consultant and leadership coach. In my coaching practice, I mainly work with women trying to figure out what’s next for their business, career or life. I particularly love helping busy women figure out the right balance for them so they can be fulfilled in every area of their life.”

If my elevator-mate wants to know more about the PR side of my business, I can expand on that, or if they are curious about coaching I expand on that.

Think of it as a conversation-starter.

Either way, my elevator-mate quickly has a clearer picture of what I do and how I could potentially help them or someone they know.

Of course, I coach people in other areas too, and I’m a PR consultant, however by landing on one topic area, I can focus on one area to expand on to help my potential client get a clearer picture of what I could potentially do for them or for someone they know.

Are you ready to write your own elevator speech? Try the following formula:

“I help (describe target audience) so they can (what you help them do) so they can experience (the end result.)

More examples of potential personal elevator speeches:

“I help busy professional women gain clarity about what’s next so they can be successful and live a life of balance.”

OR

“I work mostly with not-for-profit organizations developing strategic communications plans so they can be more effective as an organization.”

OR

“I am an HR professional with most of my experience in the energy sector. I particularly love helping organizations create retention programs so they keep their best people.”

The key is to paint a picture for your audience member. It may be obvious to you what you do and what you want, but it’s not necessarily obvious to everyone else.

Now it’s your turn. What would you say if you had the opportunity to tell someone about yourself in 30 seconds or less?

I’d love to hear your elevator speech. Write it in the comments below or provide your own best tips for engaging your audience with what you do, why you do it and what you’re looking for.

Personal Balance Equation Workbook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a PR Strategist & Leadership Coach who especially loves to work with people who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a balanced life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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