The key to a perfect elevator speech that will captivate your listener in about 30 seconds is practice, practice, and more practice. The old cliche, “practice makes perfect,” is a good one.
But as with all things, there is always a cautionary note. It is not “practice,” but “good practice makes perfect.” And it does make sense, does not it? After all, if you practice a poor golf swing over and over again; what you will end up with will be a perfectly, terrible golf swing.
Let’s not go for the perfectly, terrible golf swing. Like seeking out a golf pro to critique your mechanics, so to must you seek out feedback.
- Join Toastmasters. Look up your local chapter and join this tremendous group. While Toastmasters may not make you a great public speaker, it will help you be more comfortable speaking about yourself. At a networking seminar that I attended many years ago, the moderator asked everyone to stand up and speak for about 2 minutes on who we were and what we wanted. That’s actually not that easy. Toastmasters can help you with that.
- Solicit feedback from friends who will be honest with you. Is feedback the breakfast of champions, maybe? It will definitely help you perfect your elevator speech. Much like a golf pro watching the mechanics of your swing; getting honest feedback on your speech will go a long way in helping you present yourself in the best light.
- Use your elevator speech as your greeting on your answering machine and voicemail. Get yourself out there and put your ego on the line. Some will find your speech engaging, others will find it annoying, or worst of all, don’t care. Best of all, some will comment on it and tell you. Again, this is feedback and this is good.
- Write out the answer to “what do you do?” in full sentences. Then rewrite it with contractions and fragments in the manner you speak. Sentences need to flow naturally and with cadence. Then, use it as an introduction to yourself when you cold call for job interviews.
- Lastly, leave your ego in the locker. Being thin skinned is being unemployed or unemployable.
Yes, you must practice until your elevator speech rolls off your tongue as naturally as, “doing great, how about yourself?” But to make sure you are swinging correctly, you must get feedback on your mechanics.