How to Deliver a Winning Elevator Speech!
Imagine yourself in the elevator at you summer internship and who should join you for a ride to your floor but the CEO of the company you’re working for? They say you should always have an “elevator speech” ready to deliver, that succinct “commercial” about yourself. It needs to be a glimpse of who you are, what you want, and what you are capable of achieving. Have you rehearsed your elevator speech, yet? What would you say? How would you say it? Especially considering you maybe have 60 seconds tops before the CEO steps off!
Like most things, being prepared is everything. Since time is of the essence for the elevator pitch, take a time-savvy approach to putting it together. One tip from The Muse is to use index cards to get right to the heart of it: label each card with prompts such as “Who I Am,” “What I Do,” and “How I Do It.” Under each heading, write two interesting or memorable facts about you that is relevant to the job or field of your choice.
But don’t stop there! After you have identified these facts about yourself, think of a story or example from your experience that illustrates them. Everyone, it seems, “has great communication skills” and wants to “make a difference.” While these statements may be true for you, find a way to speak about your own experience that SHOWS instead of tells this information. Beneath the facts about you written on the cards, write a sentence that proves it: “In my volunteer job at the hospital, I was able to convince the administration that patients wanted to see uplifting artwork in their rooms.” This statement illustrates beyond a doubt the strength of your communication skills AND that you were able to make a meaningful difference.
A more direct approach to the elevator pitch is straight from the entrepreneur playbook. When entrepreneurs develop a pitch to sell their product or service, they use three main ingredients that can be adapted to your elevator pitch in selling yourself. 1. The problem. 2. How YOU can solve that problem. 3. The closer. Translating these to your elevator pitch, first identify a problem that exists in your field and then address it in your opening line: “I’ve heard there are a huge number of college graduates who could be potential customers—if only you could get their attention.” Second—this is the part where you come in to save the day: “That’s exactly what I did when I ran a Twitter campaign at my school last fall. Homecoming attendance was way down but thanks to my social media tactics, student and alum participation went up almost 20 percent!” And, the closer: “If that’s what I can do on an assignment in a marketing class, imagine what I could do at your company!”
How would you know if you were standing next to the person who could make or break your future career? Think about it: do you know what every influential person in your field looks like? The lesson here is that if you are able to talk comfortably with anybody about who you are and what you care about, then the “essential you” is coming across. Embrace this idea by practicing your elevator speech while you’re riding the elevator this summer at your internship, with who ever is sharing the space with you. It will give you a real-life sense of whether you are coming off as natural—if you engage them in real conversation, you’re nailing your elevator speech!
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