TIPS 1: The 30 Second Elevator Speech Drill
This personal sales tool, when well refined and tuned, will help you with your networking opportunities and interviews PLUS it can help you focus your resume and other efforts. This is a sales pitch tool; when in a Career Transition you are selling your "goods and services".
Creating your 30 Second Elevator Speech is possible by working in total isolation. Your speech may be worthless but you will have one. There are several major parts to this that are often overlooked in the rush just to say you have the speech. These include:
When you hit 30 seconds in duration the attention span of you audience starts to drop.
Put yourself in the listener's shoes. They don't know who you are and you unleash this prepared statement on them Your statement needs to be crisp, clean, informative, intriguing and only 30 seconds in duration if at all possible.
This about you the professional and what you to do/can do in a condensed by intriguing manner to sell yourself or, at a minimum, prompt them to ask you questions. People do not often ask questions if their curiosity is peaked especially with a total stranger. Such questions will allow you to educate or inform those asking more about yourself with the advantage your "30 second clock" is over ... they are receptive and want to hear more. As before, do not get into your life story but focus on the specifics asked. If they don't respond with another question you can potentially keep the conversation alive by discussing an area you do that most may not understand but has relevance to their life. When you can relate your skills to others in terms of their experiences, wants, needs or curiosities, you have a listener.
- PRACTICE & VALIDATE
We know (or should know) what Practice is. When starting, first write out the bullet points highlighting your strengths. Determine what needs to be refined, what is missing and merits being added and what will simply become too much or of lesser value that could surface in conversations after the speech. Convert your surviving list into your speech but retain your original list of bullets should the opportunity to income more become possible.
Validate (or validation) is getting feedback from a one-on-one or group session to provide you feedback on your performance during your 30 Second Elevator Speech. Not everyone you approach will hold the industry specific skills, training or expertise and you risk either boring or confusing your listener or leave them feeling so dumb they don't want to talk to you again. With a group session with people of different skills and from different industries you can fine tune your speech to reach a broader audience. When in public you never know who has created the opportunity for you to use your speech. Sometimes you discover you are talking to a low level staffer who works for or knows a hiring manager you would love to meet.
- TEST AND BENCHMARK YOURSELF
There are three high level critical skills in a 30 Second Elevator Speech:
1. What you Communicate,
2. Verbal Communications Quality, and
3. Visual Communications Impact
Technology has helped us to much we sometime fail to think how else it can serve us.
Item 1: What you Communicate
The first of the three skills can be addressed by giving your speech to others for feedback.
Items 2 & 3: Verbal and Visual Communications
The second and third are often overlooked as these are part of the "soft skills" that are in fact important to companies yet rarely taught in high schools or colleges. While your efforts are verbal you are always communicating with your facial expressions along with body language (how you are standing, use of hands, gestures, etc.). Both skills for your elevator speech can be improved through practice and review using a single device potentially already owned by someone in your household: your computer (desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone).
Verbal Communications Quality
Use the sound recorder capability to record your speech. Listen to the quality of your speech; was it informative? Did it flow easily? Was it understandable? Did you mispromounce any words? What the pace/speed appropriate to good understanding for the listener? Did your voice change tone or pace reflecting your passion for what you do? SAVE your first recording as a "benchmark". In a career transition being able to validate progress is often challenging if we think about marking our progress towards success. After a few days of practicing your speech before others, record your current version then play the two recordings back to back. It can be the cause for great pride in your progress or a warning you need to invest more time and possibly the time of others. It is more important to seek help than to conceal or deny your need.
Visual Communications Impact.
Use the video recording capability with sound and give your speech. Examine the same voice characteristics as before but also examine your facial expressions and see if you are "sending messages" that detract or compliment your verbal communication or yell "I reall hate doing this and do not want to be here at all". Some people simply do not enjoy doing these things in a Career Transition. To those I urge them to get over it as this will help you job search and improve your soft skills that employers need. If you find your vocal and facial messages are not together, work on this for the same reason. This process is also highly recommended when practicing for Interviews where the stakes are considerably higher and the rewards for success can be significant.