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What is an elevator speech?

An elevator speech is a short message about who you are, your career aims and the benefits you bring to the company.
Two women walking out of a elevator and talking
© Deakin University

It is a short message about who you are, your career aims and the benefits you bring to the company.

Earlier, we have talked about how communication skills play an important role in workplaces. An elevator speech is one of those effective communication tools that can potentially lead you to a success in your career.

It got its name from the scenario of the professional who walks into his or her office building and gets in the elevator with the CEO. ‘So tell me,’ she says, ‘who are you and what do you do here?’ With the average elevator ride reported to be 16 seconds, you can’t waste time. This is your chance; you have a captive audience with someone influential in the company.

Although it may seem trivial or unlikely, every professional is advised to have an elevator speech. You never know when the opportunity will arise, do you think you will be ready?

Ideally, you would like to give an articulate, concise summary that conveys that you are an intelligent professional, are involved in your work and can express yourself well to others.

Your task

Prepare an elevator speech of about 30 seconds. Your topic can be anything that encapsulates who you are in the organisation, your responsibilities and your current work assignments.

Once you are happy with your speech, post it in the comments section in text form. Alternatively, if you are really keen you could record and post your speech to YouTube or in MP3 form and please post on Padlet to share with other learners. Provide feedback for your fellow learners—particularly on aspects they have done well and can improve in the future.

When reviewing elevator speeches, think about things like:

  • If you were the CEO and had this conversation with this employee, would you hire them?
  • Was it clear and coherent?
  • Can you provide any tips on how to improve it?
© Deakin University
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