Assignment: Oral Communication – Elevator Speech (Information for Students)

Introduction:

An elevator speech (or elevator pitch) is a 30 second commercial about you. A good speech should last no longer than a short elevator ride, hence the name. It should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. Because networking can happen anywhere, you should always be prepared to introduce yourself and talk about who you are and what you want to do. You never know when that conversation can lead to a new contact or even an invitation to pass along your resume.

An ideal time to share your elevator speech is during introductions at career fairs, expos and recruiting events. When preparing for an event, be sure to research the companies you are interested in and tailor your speech so it’s relevant to your audience. For example, if you are talking with a smaller company, you don’t want to say that you’re interested in working in a large corporate environment.

Watch these two videos to get an employer’s perspective about an elevator speech:

Now, you’re ready to write your elevator speech. Use the steps below to help you get started, but keep in mind that you’ll need to change your approach depending on who you are speaking with and what you are trying to accomplish. Start by thinking about the objective of your speech. For example, are you planning to use your speech to introduce yourself at a networking event or career fair? Are you seeking an internship or a job? Your objective will influence how you craft your speech.

Steps to Writing an Elevator Speech:

You can use these steps to help you draft your elevator speech. Keep in mind, your objective will impact the specific elements you include in it.

  1.   Your name, major/degree, and classification.
  2.   What you do or what you want to do.
  • Prepare a single sentence that gives insight into what you are interested in and the value you bring.
  1.   Why you’re the best at what you do or why you want to work in the industry you’ve chosen.
  • Prepare a single sentence that differentiates you from others.
  • It might be a technique you’ve developed, your specific experience, or even your personality that sets you apart. What makes you special?
  1.   Call to action.
  • What are you trying to achieve here? Are you trying to build your network, obtain a job or internship, learn more about a specific career field or company?

This is an example of how your elevator speech might sound:

Hi, my name is ______. I am currently a _______ (classification) majoring in _________. I’m interested in ____________ and have experience in ___________________. I am seeking a _________ (internship, full/part time job) for the ____ (fall/spring/summer) semester. I’m interested in working for your company/organization because __________________.

Now that you have an outline of what you’d like to say, you can finalize your speech. Connect your sentences so they flow together and sound natural. Avoid using words that people from a different field might not understand and cut out any unnecessary words.

Watch this video for tips on how to improve your elevator speech and make it more interesting:

Practice your elevator speech:

It can take some time to get your speech right. One of the best ways to improve your elevator speech is to practice it in front of a mirror until you are comfortable with what you have to say. Once your elevator speech sounds good to you, consider practicing it with someone else to get their feedback, such as a classmate, roommate, friend or family member. You also might find it helpful to video your speech so you can watch the recording of yourself. Don’t be surprised if you rewrite your speech several times before you find a version that is compelling and sounds natural.