The Right Message In The Right Time

Last time out I wrote about the importance of clarity in work communication and its effects on job survival.  While at the gigantic Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month, I was continuously reminded of the importance of clarity in brevity, particularly when it comes to what we often refer to as the “elevator speech” – succinctly conveying your target message in a few seconds.  At a trade show with over 150 thousand attendees from all over the world, those little spiels were frequent, and I was impressed by how well they were delivered by the broadest spectrum of workers you could imagine. Some better than others, but the best networkers get their message across in the opening seconds of each interaction.
Whether speaking with company owners, engineers, sales or marketing personnel, or the freelance temporary tradeshow workers, everyone had plenty of opportunity to perfect the delivery of their particular message.  The commonality and frequency of questions like: “What do you do?”; “Tell me about your product?” and “What does this thing do?”, necessitated that those working the event had the ability to clearly provide answers and information that would either entice further, deeper queries, or filter out those who were merely curious so attention could be given to those most important to their mission for being at the show.
When you are looking for work, and networking, you will often be asked, “What do you do?”, or some other job related inquiry that could determine if you’ll have further contact with this person.  Your ability to briefly yet clearly inform others of your target goals and provide details about your skills and experiences, will frequently impact the interest others take in seeking more details about you and employment goals.
Here are some guidelines for mastering the art of the job search elevator speech.

Focus on finding succinct verbiage that is specific to your line of work or job goal.

Use everyday language rather than industry specific jargon, as you never know how much your listener knows about your industry and line of work.

When possible, say something about the circumstances under which you perform your duties, i.e. “…my experience involves working with small teams to develop applications for ….”   Or, “I am a high level administrator who complements and supports the efforts of senior executives and managers.”

Keep your pitch relevant to the kind of work you seek.

Don’t limit or pigeon-hole your objectives into too narrow a target.  Frequently our skills are applicable in broader terms than we actually get to use them.

If your past experience includes something quantifiable such as sales figures or other measurable metrics or monetary gains, try to include them.  Not to brag, but to emphasize the tangible contributions you’re capable of making.

Know how to express your most important assets in more than one way so you are best prepared for any situation .

Add a tight accomplishment statement to provide support examples of what you do and how well you do it!  (Check out the post Accomplishment Clarity for more info.)

Your objective is to get comfortable giving strangers information about your skills or goals to encourage more contact.  But it takes practice.  Develop a couple of clear and concise observations that cover your strongest attributes most relevant to your reason for making contact with the other person.  Ask a friend or family member to listen to your statements to help you better prepare your pitch.  Get the input of more than one person and practice until your comfort level increases.
But the best way to strengthen this all important skill, is to get out there and network! Go to events and locations where you’re likely to meet other professionals, introduce yourself to strangers, ask about what they do, and surely they will ask about your interests.  The right message in the right time can make a real difference in the way others understand your goals and the contributions you can make.  And when a decision maker thinks you can make a difference, your chances of advancing your career improve dramatically.   The Right Message In The Right Time does make a difference!
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