The importance of elevator speeches – PRSSA re-cap 4.1.13

By: Briagenn Adams

Monday’s ImPRessions Spotlight was the Army ROTC OU Bobcat Battalion account. The ROTC department provides a robust training program that is considered one of the best in the nation. The Bobcat Battalion continues to improve and create an environment that consistently produces outstanding commissioned officers. Congratulations!

Kaitlynn Grady was honored as this week’s member spotlight. Kaitlynn is a Junior Strategic Communications major from Columbus, Ohio. While on the New York City networking trip, she said the best piece of advice she heard was to “make every room a classroom,” from MWW Public Relations. Kaitlynn defines public relations as professional story telling. Way to go, Kaitlynn! Give her a shout-out on Twitter @Katie_Grady.

Reminder: Athens Beautification Day is from 12-3 p.m. April 14! If you are still interested in joining the PRSSA team, email Cidnye Weimer to sign up! We will meet at the Scripps Amphitheater on College Green. Together, let’s keep Athens beautiful.

Ohio University professor and Scripps PRSSA advisor Dan Farkas spoke about elevator speeches and making a good first impression at tonight’s meeting. Farkas opened his talk with the quote from Frank Sinatra, “If it’s black-tie optional, it’s not optional.” He said that to be successful in the professional world, one should always strive to be the best-dressed person in any situation. Public Relations professionals are always communicating, even when they’re not communicating.

Picture 4The importance of an articulate “elevator speech” is monumental when trying to convey your personality and work ethic in a very short amount of time. To illustrate the four steps to a great elevator speech, Farkas used examples from “The Bachelor,” much to the pleasure of Scripps PRSSA.

“Thought #1 is to always be ready,” Farkas said. “Opportunity is finite, and when it’s there, grab it.” Like the lady contestants on The Bachelor, PR professionals must always use every second to full advantage, promoting themselves and their cause.

Thought #2 is the importance of brevity in writing and in speech. Farkas said when the moment strikes, get to the point. Be concise but thorough. “You’ve got to look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘what makes me different?’,” he said. “And if you don’t know what that is, then figure it out.” When you know what makes you outstanding to a Public Relations firm or agency, embrace that talent and amplify it in every elevator speech. “30 seconds flies, don’t waste it on superfluous stuff,” Farkas said.

Farkas used the “Rose Ceremony” in The Bachelor to illustrate Thought #3, which is to have quantifiable examples, and never be vague. “’It’s not you, it’s me’ is not enough during a breakup,” Farkas said. “Likewise, don’t just say you’re good at social media if you only have a Facebook page.” Farkas said you can’t just say that you’re good. Instead, say what you’re good at and then prove it.

After the elevator speech is over, and you have made your point, Thought #4 is to never say goodbye. “If the elevator speech is good, it will yield to further conversation,” he said. Farkas used a quote by Tom Martin to expand upon this idea. “The goal of the elevator speech isn’t getting hired, it’s making the other person want to keep talking to you after you finish. Think of it as the movie trailer, not the movie.”

Farkas closed his speech with a final remark. “Confidence and planning creates luck,” he said. Through proper preparation, it is possible to construct an excellent elevator speech that will guarantee a good impression, every time.

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