Dennison Career Services - "The Job Search Coach"


Christine Dennison, Certified Professional Resume Writer

The term "elevator speech" comes from the idea that you should be ready to give a 30-second speech to introduce yourself (and start a networking conversation) if you find yourself sharing an elevator ride with someone "important" at your company. The concept now applies to any situation where you might find a networking opportunity -- a social gathering, a business meeting, a charity project, or an actual networking group meeting.
Most folks are scared or intimidated by the word "speech" -- you can get a better grip on the elevator speech concept by thinking about it as a conversation-starter rather than a presentation. It also helps to focus on the other person -- find out about him/her. No one likes to be forced into a corner to listen to someone's pitch.
  • Have a conversation starter ready, but spend most of your time finding out about the other person -- make it a natural conversation, not a pitch. An easy one-size-fits-most icebreaker question is "What are you working on these days?"
  • Don't try to cram your entire professional life into a 30-second presentation. Remember, you want this to be a dialogue.
  • Think of something intriguing (or at least concise) to say about yourself that will prompt a question or response from the other person. Your goal is to find out how you might help the other person first and keep your antenna up for ideas to add to your target list. If you ask about openings, it tends to shut off the dialogue.
  • Most of the time, this will be the beginning of a networking opportunity or business relationship, not a completed transaction.
  • Be prepared to answer the question "What do you do?" or "What do you want to do?" in about 30 seconds, without putting the other person on the spot or making them feel trapped.
For more ideas and specific strategies, contact me to book a coaching session.


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