Mentor Minute: Elevator Speech

What are you buying when you buy a camera? You’re buying memories. What is a hotel selling?  Not the grand lobby. Not the view. It’s selling a good night’s sleep. What is a restaurant selling? Not the food. Not the service. It’s selling pleasure.

We’re all selling — all the time. We are selling ourselves. So it’s really, really, really important to figure out who you are and what you are selling.

One way to get started on a job search is to imagine that you are on the elevator with a stranger, who may be able to help you. You never know. The trick is to be prepared to describe your skills at the drop of a hat. You initiate a really quick elevator speech.

Here are a few more tips:

  1. Figure out what you are selling: for example, I’m a personal chef. I’ll cook five meals a week for you and your family in your home. I cook locally grown vegetables and fruits.  I leave your kitchen so clean that you’ll never know I was there until you look in your refrigerator and see all the beautiful foods I’ve prepared. I’m a graduate of the XYZ Culinary School. (You may feel compelled to say, “Have a nice day.” Try not to.)
  2. Rehearse your speech. Often. Convince yourself that the worst thing that can happen is the stranger: (a) thinks you are nuts or (b) gets off at the next floor before you’ve finished speaking.
  3. Always carry your business card in an easily accessible place so you can grab it and give it immediately.
  4. Don’t fumble. Don’t mumble. Don’t crumble if a job offer doesn’t immediately materialize.
  5. Keep trying.

What was your best elevator pitch? What worked? What did not? Share your stories.