What is an “elevator speech” and why do I need one?
The “elevator speech” or “pitch” as it is also referred to, is a quick synopsis of what you do and the message that you want to convey to the person to whom you are presenting. It is normally meant to be under a minute in length with the intent of driving interest in you and your brand”. (We’ll get more into “branding” over the next two parts of this series.)
The term “elevator speech” comes from the idea that you have a short amount of time to engage a captive audience before they move on to the next task or person, or the amount of time it takes for a quick elevator ride from one floor to another.
If you are in sales and/or marketing, you probably already know the purpose of an “elevator speech”, however, very few people actually have developed one much less honed it to near perfection.
So, how do you craft an “elevator speech?”
The real questions to ask yourself in this regard are:
1) How do I explain what I do without labeling myself?
2) What can I say that will make my audience want to engage in a longer conversation whether at that moment or shortly after?
Chris King, the editor and author of “Powerful Presentations,” points out that one of the first questions people tend to ask upon first meeting is “What do you do?”
The normal response is to literally state your job title, which immediately labels you in their mind with all of the stereotypes that go along with it.
As a recruiter, the term that usually comes to mind is a “headhunter,” and that label has so many negative connotations. This is easily remedied by explaining what you do and the benefits that you bring to your clients.
For example, instead of answering the question with the recruiter job title, a better response would be “I work with large and small companies to help them locate the talent they so desperately need for extremely hard-to-find roles.”
This response clearly describes not only what I do and who I do it for, but also the benefits I am bringing to the table. I can then go into more details and specifics as to markets I specialize in as I gauge my audience’s interest.
Once you strip away the typical response, you remove any negative barriers and you open yourself up to a completely different conversation that may be lucrative down the line.
Remember, your presentation should be short and concise and you should practice it any chance you get. As they say practice makes perfect, and the more you use it, the better it gets.
Part 2 in this series will begin to focus more on your personal “brand.” Your “brand” not only states what you do, but who you are and how you conduct business.
Senior Technical Recruiter
The Global Edge Consultants
The Global Edge Consultants is a full service firm specializing in the recruitment of technical and project personnel for industries such as Government, Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Chemical, Engineering, Power, Nuclear and Manufacturing. Check out our careers page!