Push Some Buttons


"I'd really like to work with you. I have an MBA, experience in marketing, I'm a deadline driven, team player, I've got computer skills, negotiation skills, I make the most beautiful multi-media marketing pieces you've ever seen, in my last job I increased productivity by twenty percent and saved the company a pile of money and… I'm a joy to work with." Ding!

It's the elevator pitch – the business equivalent of how to score between floors, without being a bore.

The elevator speech is answering a simple question: Tell me about yourself.

To create your elevator speech:
First, let's talk about what you do well. List your good qualities that an employer might like. Are you friendly? Are you a good communicator? Are you creative? Are you a good team player? Do you have outstanding technical skills? Can you speak another language?

Next, think about the information a potential employer is after: your present, past and future.
• "Who are you?" (present)
• "What is your experience?" Or "Where have you been?" (past)
• "Where are you going in your career?" (future)

The real question: "Who are you and why should I care?" Or "What can you do for my organization?"

Answer those questions while plugging in your good qualities and ta-da! You have an elevator speech.

Third, time it. Can you keep it under 30 seconds? Don't wander in the woods of wordiness. If it's taking three minutes, go back to your draft and start chopping.

While elevator speeches are not often deployed in elevators, they are very useful at networking events, career fairs and random conversations on planes and trains.

Practice your elevator pitch. Then get out there and push some buttons!

Culture and Manners Institute