Could you effectively sell yourself to a prospective employer if you were alone with him or her for 30 seconds in an elevator?
Can you talk about yourself without using the same, worn clichés used by every other job seeker? Can you say something about your brand that others cannot say about theirs?
An effective elevator pitch should be:
- Relevant. Talk about the impact you can have on their success.
- Differentiating. Don’t say things about yourself that everyone else can say about themselves.
- Conversational. Your message should not sound like some formal, memorized script. With practice, your elevator speech can come from the heart and roll off your tongue in a very conversational manner.
Seth Godin, one of my favorite authors and bloggers, says this about elevator speeches:
The purpose of an elevator pitch isn’t to close the sale.
The goal isn’t even to give a short, accurate, Wikipedia-standard description of you or your project.
And the idea of using vacuous, vague words to craft a bland mission statement is dumb.
No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.
Spend the time necessary to prepare your own elevator speech. It will take time and practice, but you want to be ready when the elevator door closes and you have 30 seconds to say something about your unique, differentiated brand.
These ideas on personal branding were originally presented during two workshops I conducted for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were attended by current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals. —DH