October 20, 2017

Author: Jerry Brennan

Business Woman in an Elevator. Critical First Impressions: Perfect Your Elevator Speech.

Preparedness is a cornerstone of the security profession. Having a succinct, clear message available for those times when you hear the words “tell me about yourself” should be at the top of every security manager’s readiness checklist.

As your security career progresses, you will find yourself in the position of needing to make an effective first impression. Pick the circumstance: an unexpected phone call from a recruiter, being invited to a formal interview process for a new job, or being told you are under consideration for an internal promotion.

In each of these cases, you are the product. It is up to you to create interest in what you offer. To do that, you need to be prepared to make a positive first impression.

What you say as part of your first interaction is often called an elevator speech. You have a brief amount of time to capture attention, so you need to make it quick and effective.

There are a few key points to follow as you build and practice your elevator speech:

  • Be brief. Take no more than 40 seconds to say something meaningful.
  • Use plain language, not clichés, jargon or acronyms.
  • Avoid describing yourself in terms of your title or a generic descriptor of what you are.
  • Be yourself. Speak in a natural, authentic way that is not too fast, monotone or robotic.
  • Don’t ramble. Put a period at the end of your sentences.
  • Be aware that your facial expressions also communicate a message.
  • Your first sentence is very important to setting the tone and obtaining interest.
  • Be flexible, read your audience and adjust your content.
  • Listen to any questions and consider the frame of reference of the audience.

Invest time and effort to develop your elevator speech so that it defines your personal brand. It is more critical now that information overload is at an all-time high, attention spans are getting shorter and audiences are often multi-tasking or simply distracted. You need to be able to quickly make the best first impression to distinguish yourself in any circumstance.

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