Your one minute commercial

I just read an article that insists a business must be able to communicate its difference in 30 seconds or less. Then, once you have someone’s attention, you need to have everything in order to go into more detail, whether that is in a conversation or through a web page or social media. I’ve heard this same concept encouraged for job searching and networking. In that case, it’s referred to as your “one minute commercial” or your “elevator speech.” The point is when you meet a potential employer, client or someone you want to network with, you should be able to concisely explain who you are, what you want to do for people or businesses and how people or businesses benefit from what you do—and all in the time it takes you to go between floors on an elevator.

When I first heard this idea, I considered it somewhat ludicrous. At the time I liked to think of myself as a very complex individual who can’t be explained or “sold” in a minute or less. I’ve grown up a bit since then, but, more importantly, I’m finally doing something I’m passionate about. And when you get to that point, you want to tell anyone and everyone you meet about what you are doing and what aspirations you have. But I think the key thing about the one minute commercial is realizing that the “who you are” part may be the least important. Sure you may need to throw out some credentials initially, but I’ve found that the energy and enthusiasm with which you tell about how you want to help others is what gets people’s attention.

After 31 years, I’ve finally started sharing what I’m doing with almost everyone—because I’ve finally started doing something I believe in. But I can’t tell you exactly what that is here because this post isn’t about that. I don’t usually like to “boil things down” to a moral, but I would say this: If you can’t think of anything to say in your elevator speech, then you’re probably not passionate about what you do. And if you’re not passionate about what you do, you’re not doing what you should be doing.

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