Elevator Speech 

Your two-minute resume 

Everybody needs an elevator speech or a two-minute explanation of who you are. 

Here's an example.

Video of an elevator speech.

Victor Hernandez, director of coverage for CNN, served as visiting faculty [at the Poynter Center] in a seminar for new managers this year. He talked to the group about the importance of managing their careers. He advised them to be able to describe themselves, their skills and their values to bosses or potential employers and to do it succinctly. He introduced them to the concept of the "elevator speech."

Here's more from Poynter:

Selling Your Idea, Succinctly http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=34

You know how to write a brief for your paper. A quick reader for your broadcast. A short post for the Web. But darn it, you're not as good when it comes to the spoken word. When it's time to pitch a story idea, make a case for a budget item, or sell yourself for a promotion, your words wander.

In the spirit of short messages, let me give you these tips plus a fun video -- and that's it.

Before making your pitch:

    * Know your audience. What matters most to the person you're talking to?

    * Edit your preamble. Do you really need it at all? Is it boring history or a gripping scene setter?

    * What will your idea DO? Focus on outcomes, not just hopes.

    * Practice before pitching. See if you can make your case in three sentences: What. Why. With what outcome? "I would like to send Joe to the conventions. He's become our go-to multimedia guy. He'll send us great stuff, break new ground for us on the Web, and show folks in the newsroom what they could do, too." 

Victor's elevator speech was built on a metaphor -- one that's an authentic fit for a guy who comes from a military family. And that's my last tip for selling your idea succinctly: consider framing it with a vivid, appropriate metaphor.