Delivering an Elevator Speech

By Andy Darnley

The job market is highly competitive, which makes getting a job more complicated than simply completing an application or sending out a résumé. At most companies, employers will often encounter a large number of applications per available position. This can make it difficult and time-consuming for them to narrow down and select the right candidates. Because competition for employment is so fierce, it’s crucial that job-seekers make themselves stand out from the rest. Having a well-thought-out elevator speech can help: This is an effective tool that can help to get people noticed by recruiters or managers.

An elevator speech, also commonly referred to as an elevator pitch, is often described as a short, self-promoting commercial. The notion of an elevator speech is that its delivery should only last the length of time it would take to ride in an elevator with someone of importance. It is often suggested that this should take as few as 30 seconds and generally no longer than 60 seconds. The purpose of an elevator pitch is for a person to give a summary of who they are, what they do, and why they’d make an ideal candidate. Job-seekers can use this type of speech for various situations, including job fairs, interviews, parties, or at any time that an opportunity to introduce oneself arises.

It’s important to follow a few steps when a person is developing a pitch that will improve their chances of getting the job that they want. The first step is knowing exactly what job they want and how to best describe it. This can be tricky, as an elevator speech could be used for a variety of jobs that may be slightly different from one another. For that reason, it’s important to be flexible and not overly specific in stating job goals. If interested in more than one field, job-seekers may prepare for potential opportunities to pitch themselves by creating more than one elevator speech.

Another step to take when developing an elevator speech is to list only the skills and accomplishments that are important for the position being sought. This is important because too many details can distract the listener and detract from what is being said. It’s also important to have a unique selling point. One must consider what makes them unique or especially qualified for a position and convey it in the pitch. While preparing the speech, write down what needs to be said in the order that it should be said. Generally, the appropriate format is for the job-seeker to start by establishing who they are, what they do, and then what they are looking for. An elevator speech shouldn’t be used to impress the listener with acronyms or heavy industry jargon. Remove jargon from the speech, use strong verbs, and write it in a way that places the focus on solving the employer’s needs.

Once an elevator speech has been created, it must be presented properly to be effective. This can be a challenge for people who are uncomfortable approaching and speaking in front of others. To conquer this challenge, individuals may consider taking a public speaking course. By taking a speaking course or joining a public speaking group, one may start to feel more comfortable and develop skills to better articulate ideas and connect with their audience. Public speaking groups are often a good place to rehearse and receive feedback on a speech and its delivery. Regardless of whether a person is in a speaking group or not, it is important for them to practice as much as possible. Practice not only ensures that the speech is engaging enough to hold the attention of the intended audience, but it helps with memorizing it. An effective way to practice when alone is to stand in front of a mirror and pay attention to body language and expression. Although it may take time, the effort put into an elevator speech and its delivery can ultimately help land the right job.