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Can You Sell Yourself in 30 Seconds?


What in the world is an elevator speech and why do you need one? An elevator speech is a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes someone to ride the elevator to their floor. A good elevator speech can be useful during any encounter with a potential employer, client, supervisor or other decision maker.

The basics

Many people are intimidated by the idea of writing an elevator speech. The need to be both concise and compelling scares many people off. However, the alternative is to be in that situation completely unprepared, and that’s even more intimidating. (It also leads to worse results.) The first step in writing an elevator speech is simple: It involves determining what the writer is passionate about in their career. This is the entire subject of the conversation.

The next step is to keep a few important guidelines in mind. An elevator speech should be brief, specific, distinguishing, solution-centric and provocative. What exactly do these guidelines mean? The speech should be no more than 20 to 30 seconds, and it shouldn’t contain generalizations. It should highlight what distinguishes the speaker, as well as what solutions the speaker provides. Finally, it should make the listener want to learn more.

The writing process

With these guidelines in mind, it’s time to turn to the writing process. Take a blank piece of paper, and number it from one to 10. Fill in the most important bits of information that you want to convey about yourself, your service or product or your company. The next step is to put those editing skills to work to eliminate any redundancies, unnecessary or unclear information and broad business jargon.

The guideline about specificity is especially important here. General information isn’t as helpful, useful or informative as specific information is. It’s one thing to claim commitment to patient care and another to note a recent award for excellence in patient care. Sometimes people are not sure about their strengths; if that’s the case, it can be helpful to think about the types of feedback they have received.

Make it conversational

Although it’s called an elevator speech, it shouldn’t sound like a speech; it should sound conversational. Otherwise, it can come off sounding more like an infomercial than a conversation. An objective sounding board can be very helpful at this stage of the process; reading it aloud then tinkering with the words will help with achieving authenticity.

It’s important to keep tweaking…until it no longer sounds rehearsed. When it seems done, it’s time to go back to the objective sounding board – or even a few of them. If their takeaway of key points doesn’t match the speech’s intended key points, the speech still needs work.

Let’s talk

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. We’d love to hear your elevator speech and help you achieve your goals. Give us a call at 310.436.3650 today!