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Creating a 30-Second Elevator Speech

Your stop to the future

If you are stuck about the whole career networking process, think about creating a 30-second elevator speech. This simplified approach provides an organized way to introduce yourself to a professional contact.  Think of the 30-second elevator speech as a personal pitch, or as a script that you develop with the distinct purpose of establishing rapport or a relationship with a potentially valuable contact. This short-hand introduction can also act to stimulate interest on the part of your contact.

Hopefully your 30-second speech will cultivate curiosity and generate questions from your contact that will provide more information about your background and interests.

There are many situations where the 30-second elevator speech can be useful from meeting a new client or colleague, to engaging with a former classmate or potential employer. When people meet for the first time, the initial exchange is usually based on, “Who are you and what do you do?”  If you have a well thought out introduction organized ahead of time, the delivery will be smoother and more cohesive … and might very well result in a greater chance to make a good impression at the crucial starting point.  Once you have created a basic introduction you can tailor it to any situation.

Basic Elements of 30-second Elevator Speech

Your Name and Title

Nothing complicated here.  A simple “Hi, my name is John and I am currently a business analyst” will do.  If you are a student or a recent grad, it is fine to use these terms as your title.  For the unemployed, the focus can be on past titles and capacities and the fields and industries that fill your resume.

Your Role

The description of your role can be an extension of your title embellished with more information. 

“I am a nurse who specializes in emergency room patients and recently developed expertise working with patients who suffered traumatic head injuries.” Or for a college grad, “I recently graduated from Temple University with a fine arts degree in graphic design.”

Your Interests

Expanding on accomplishments or exciting developments in your experience presents a unique opportunity to build enthusiasm and more fully engage your contact. 

 “I enjoy working with my patients and have had the privilege of watching many seriously injured patients fight courageously to improve their physical condition.” 

The positive energy that you display can prove to be contagious and can act to further your contact’s interest in finding out more about you.

Future Conversation

If your initial introduction and conversation goes smoothly with a contact, it can open the door to a more formal meeting or discussion via Skype or telephone.  As you develop your introduction pitch, it is also a good idea to think in advance about how to present your desire for an extended conversation.

“I am looking to expand my nursing experience and talents and pursue opportunities in Hospice care.  You have substantial knowledge and experience in this area and I wondered if you would be willing to talk with me further about trends in the field.”

Additional Tips

Practice your elevator speech with friends or colleagues and make sure your delivery comes across as natural.  Keep in mind you can use the pitch in building your network of friends, colleagues, leaders in your field and professional acquaintances. You can tailor the pitch depending on who it is you are trying to build a relationship with but a basic introduction will always help you break the ice with a new contact. 

Avoid being blatantly direct by asking your contact for a job. In the same spirit, do not ask the contact if he or she would consider interviewing you. This kind of approach is a turn off since the contact does not really know you well enough and will consider your request an imposition.

The 30-second elevator speech is about developing a relationship which can simply produce a warm and valuable relationship or lead to an opportunity now or in the future.

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