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English Speaking Skills: Elevator Speech– Introduction

English Speaking Skills: Elevator Speech–  Introduction


Have you developed your “elevator speech”?

Shi on Facebook asked about an “elevator speech”.  She had read several articles on the importance of having a couple of versions of an “elevator speech” to maximize your communication.  In her case, she was seeking advice on how to get the most out of a conference.

For openers, the term refers to a quick way to help you communicate who you are and the work you do.

It is called an “elevator speech” because its length is about the time you would have for a  brief encounter with a person, say, about the time of a ride up an elevator to your destination.  That could be one to three minutes. 

People see them as a kind of marketing tool since they are a way to let those you meet know where you’ve been and where you are hoping to go in the future.

In short, people who develop elevator speeches and memorize them are realizing the importance of every personal encounter.  They know that each personal encounter has the potential of helping them make advances in their career.  Perhaps these communications could help you get the ideal internship or job. Or it could help you build a connection for furthering the work you are already doing.

Shi found experts saying it was good to have a 30-second version, a one-minute one, a three-minute one, a five-minute one, and a ten-minute one.

The take-home message there is that you can stretch your communication about yourself or make it terrifically compact (down to 30 seconds).

Here’s a sample of a 30 second elevator speech.  When I was getting my Ph.D., people would ask me what I was doing my research on.  I would say:  “Do you ever talk to people who were born in another country and have trouble understanding them?  Well, I am doing research to find ways to teach international people how to speak English clearly, so it is easy for you to understand them.”

Next time:  More on how to write an elevator speech.

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