The Elevator Speech: Going Down?

It may be too early to write the obituary for the elevator speech. But we have serious doubts about the future of The Elevator Speech in the Career Management industry. The phrase has been in use since the popularization of the modern résumé after World War II, and it gained ground during the Dot Com boom. However, despite its popularity, it did not survive the burst of the bubble it helped to inflate.

In today’s Brave New World of job searching, communication methods, and technologies have evolved beyond recognition, influencing culture and expected behavior at the executive level. The one-way communication style of speeches and pitches has been replaced by a more active and rapid interchange of information and viewpoints.

While an interviewer may still occasionally ask the question, “Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?” it is generally a rhetorical question. In the age of LinkedIn profiles, electronic résumés, and internet-based background checks, interviewers are looking for a quick and easy way to determine why they are speaking with you and what they can expect from listening.

To demonstrate your efficiency, you should share only the pertinent information. Demonstrate how hiring you will solve the problem that caused you to be considered for the career opportunity. Opportunities arise through pain. And jobs are created because there is a lack that cannot be fulfilled without hiring someone. This information cannot be conveyed through a standardized presentation. People do not have time to listen to a speech, even one that is only thirty seconds long.

Interviewees often miss the mark. They either provide irrelevant information about their background. Or they fail to clearly delineate their unique qualifications. When it comes to speaking in today’s interviews, it is important to choose your words wisely and quickly.

Our suggestion? Practice fencing instead of rehearsing an elevator speech.

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