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NCCWSL Packing List: Don’t Forget Your Elevator Speech!

It’s the scenario you’ve heard about a thousand times: You step into an elevator, and there is the CEO of your dream company. Now, what do you say to her during this elevator ride?

What you say — your “elevator speech” — needs to have a clear message that sums up everything she should know about you in a memorable and compelling way. This seems difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to prepare for the moment beforehand and take the time to practice giving your speech.

With your elevator speech prepped and ready, you’ll be able to use it everywhere, including at NCCWSL. You never know when you’ll be in the elevator with a workshop presenter you loved or waiting in line with a student who has already tackled a problem you’re having on your campus. It will also come in handy at the graduate school and career fairs. And don’t forget the opportunity to mingle with the Women of Distinction awardees after the awards ceremony.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting your NCCWSL elevator speech.

1. Take a moment to write down the information about yourself that you want to share. Consider these questions. What makes you memorable? What projects or issues are you championing on your campus? What experiences are you hoping to gain at NCCWSL? What are your career aspirations? What are your leadership skills? And what leadership skills do you want to strengthen?

2. Pick the three most important points you wrote down. Why are they the most important points? Condense your answer to this question into two or three sentences.

3. Add your full name and where you’re from before these two or three sentences to serve as your introduction and opening remarks.

4. Make sure to also have an ask at the end. Every elevator speech should conclude with an ask, whether it’s “Consider me for this position,” or “Can we exchange e-mail addresses?”

5. Remember that practice makes perfect. Practice your elevator speech in the mirror, with your roommate, with an advisor, with a stranger on the bus. Don’t forget that it can be tweaked and refined for any audience. By the time you get to NCCWSL, you should be able to give your elevator speech as easily as you can quote from your favorite movie.

We can’t wait to hear your elevator speech when you get to NCCWSL!

By:    May 20, 2014