Daily Archives: June 30, 2011

Top Elevator Speech Blunders


The term “elevator speech” has become widely used in the business world yet many job seekers are still unsure of its meaning. The idea of an elevator speech is to have a prepared presentation that grabs attention and says a lot in only a few words. Your core message should market yourself and/or your business in a way that makes your audience want to know more, rather than less about your professional endeavors.

With the pressure to craft something that conveys a huge impact in a short amount of time comes the opportunity for some mistakes. However, by being aware of these common elevator speech blunders, you’ll be well on your way to gaining the attention and respect of your next audience.

Not trying
The most common mistake is also the most simple to avoid; when it comes to elevator speeches, not trying is simply not good enough. Typically the thing that holds individuals back the most is their nerves. 

Nerves can be addressed by practicing your elevator speech as much as possible. Your speech doesn’t have to be the exact same each time, but it should include key points that captivate your audience. These points can be researched, prepared, and shaped as you progress in your career. Remember that you are not guaranteed a perfect elevator speech simply by practicing – but the more thought and time you put into your elevator speech, the more likely you are to yield successful results.

Not preparing
Oftentimes, when someone asks what you do for a living, the response is typically your job title or position, “I’m an artist – or a teacher – or a receptionist.” Your audience will most likely say, “That’s nice,” and discontinue conversation. Instead, use words that interest your listener and force them to ask more questions.

Instead of simply saying you work in IT, respond with something that highlights your accomplishments like, “I work with small businesses that are struggling with computer problems.” Your audience’s ears will perk up immediately. Make each line you deliver effective. Remember, you only have a few seconds with your audience, so make sure your time is well spent.

Not relevant
Although stating you work for a company that has been in business for 60 years and it’s located off Main Street may identify your business’ location, it doesn’t tell your audience what you do to bring value to the company or how the business impacts the community. Remember, you have a very limited amount of time during an elevator speech. Avoid details that don’t add value to your position or that are irrelevant to your job duties.

If you open your speech with broad, vague information, your audience is likely to tune you out and may potentially miss something of interest to them.

Elevator speeches are becoming more and more common in business’ fast paced environment. Although the idea of describing your career in a few short moments may be daunting, it is something that will be easier if you practice, prepare, and know the relevancy of your message.