Yesterday I heard some great advice about how to stay in the job market. In a video of a seminar by prominent motivational speaker Connie Podesta (www.conniepodesta.com), she said, essentially, that you had better be able to tell her, in thirty seconds or less, why she should hire you. In these days of downsizing, that’s truer than ever.
Do you have a thirty second elevator speech, explaining why someone should hire you?
A good template for saying what you do, or “pitching,” is the six questions asked by traditional journalists–Who? What? Where? Why? When? And How? Tell others what you do and why you are valuable to them. Then trim it, tone it, rearrange it, and polish it to make it easily roll off your tongue.
Who: Who are you? We each wear numerous hats. Which hat will be most attractive to the person you are talking to, your prospective client or employer?
What: What do you do? How does what you do fill the need of the person you are talking to?
Where: Where do you do what you do? Are you geographically focused like a realtor? Or can you help anyone, via the Internet?
Why: Why do you do what you do? What is your educational and professional background? Is your professional passion due to a personal experience?
When: When do you do what you do? Do you work during a specific season, month, or days of the week? If so, this is important to share.
Whew…this takes some deep thinking, right? Lastly…
How: How do you do what you do? This is probably the most important but most difficult to describe. You do what you do in a special way that makes you different from everyone else. Explain your unique approach, your “special sauce,” the way you stand out from your competition. In just a couple of sentences.
Yes, it is a challenge to put all this together succinctly in a way that is both easy to understand and easy to say. I challenge you to work on your thirty-second pitch. You will need only four or five sentences. Thirty seconds doesn’t sound long, and it isn’t. However, it is approximately the maximum amount of time that anyone is willing to listen after they have asked you, “What do you do?” If you drone on, their eyes glaze over and their listening will shut down.
Instead of boring them, wow ‘em with what you say and how briefly and concisely you say it! Leave them wanting more and asking follow-up questions.
Explain what you do in the best way possible. These are the most important words you could ever write and say, to propel your business. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it. What’s yours?