The elevator or 30-second speech

The term "elevator speech" refers to the amount of time you have to make a pitch about yourself (or a product) ... which is about the length of a typical elevator ride.

The essential ingredients of a good elevator speech are:

  1. Your name
  2. What problem you solve in your work (as opposed to simply stating you are a veterinarian) – for example, you help educate people about animal health so they can enjoy their animals for many problem-free years
  3. What type of work you would like to do – for example, private practice, shelter, research, or academia – and your areas of interest
  4. What skills you have that can benefit a potential employer

Practice this speech. Change it as needed. You'll find it particularly helpful in social settings, job fairs, on airplanes, and, yes, on elevators. But be prepared to cut it short if you see that you are losing the listener's interest.

After you've said your well-honed, well-practiced piece, stop and listen to what the other person has to say. You'll find that you're more successful and learn more ... the less you talk.