How to build the ultimate Ten Second Tease

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So  you’ve probably heard of elevator speeches before. You know, a speech that you could blurt out if you had 20 seconds on an elevator with someone. In theory, this should give someone an overview of what you do.


Let’s be real here, shall we? Most people don’t care about your elevator speech. When introduced via a typical elevator speech most people have already zoned out and are thinking about the best route to the snack table.  Admit it – You do this too!!  If you use those precious few seconds of introduction to rattle off a resume you’ve wasted an opportunity to make a memorable impression.

You know what else no one cares about??  Your job title.  The majority of the time, job titles do not tell you that much information – especially if the person is working in a different industry.  So sharing your title alone does not really do much to pique the interest of others.  It is often the starting point, but do not get lazy and think this is the end of it.


Also, no one wants to hear a speech.  People do NOT want to be talked TO.  Booooooorrrrring!  They want to talk WITH interesting folks.  So let’s not think of it as a speech or a chance to lecture someone on what you do, ok?  Ok!


Instead, shift your thinking to the goal of the elevator speech.  When someone says you, “So, Tell me about yourself,” think of it as an opportunity to hook them.  Make them curious.  Make them ask more questions.  The purpose of your elevator speech should be to entice the other person to want to get to know you.  THIS, my friend, is how you make an impression.  And THIS is why I like to call it a Ten Second Tease.  


Ready to make a great first impression?  Download this helpful worksheet to craft your Ten Second Tease Elevator Speech right now!

Ten Second Tease Methods

“Ok, I get it, Ash. Make it memorable. But how?”  Glad you asked, friend!  Below are my best methods for Ten Second Teases for technical folks, why they work, and the steps for crafting your own! To make it even simplier, I’ve created a free downloadable worksheet for creating your own Ten Second Tease Elevator Speech.  Get it here!


Ten Second Tease Method 1: Awesome!

This method of spicing up your elevator speech is focused on sharing what is awesome about your job. For this method, the discussion would go something like this:


Person You Just Met: “So, What do you do?”

You: “Oh man, my job is AWESOME! I get to …[insert awesome job details here]…”


The Awesome! Method for me sounds like this:

“Oh man, my job is AWESOME! I get to travel the world on charter jets helping engineers and scientists make a bigger impact.”


Why Awesome! Works

This Ten Second Tease elevator speech method is so effective at engaging others because people want to talk to (and work with) interesting, positive people. It allows you to share something super fun while demonstrating your expertise. Also, if you express it correctly, it just screams, “Ask me more!”


Ten Second Tease Method 2: Problem-Solver

This tried and true Ten Second Tease elevator speech method describes a problem and solution to communicate what you do.  For this method, the discussion would go something like this:


Person You Just Met: “So, What do you do?”

You: “You know how…[insert problem here]…. ? Well I ….[insert your solution here]…. to fix that.”


The Problem-Solver Method for me sounds like this:

“You know how engineers and scientists get a bad rap for their social skills? Well I help debunk the stereotype through leadership development training”


Why Problem-Solver Works

This Ten Second Tease elevator speech method is especially effective for technical folks who work in complex fields, because often people can relate better to the problem.  By framing your introduction as solving a problem, you are helping the other person better relate to what you do, while also demonstrating that you are a problem-solver ( and who doesn’t like that?!?).


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Ten Second Tease Method 3: Passion

This Ten Second Tease elevator speech method gets right to the heart of you by describing your passion, followed by how you are actively pursuing that in your current role.  For this method, the discussion would go something like this:


Person You Just Met: “So, Tell me about yourself?”

You: “My passion is…[insert passion here].  I am currently pursuing that passion by ….[insert your passion work here].”


The Passion Method for me sounds like this:

“My passion is teaching.  I am currently living that passion by teaching engineers and scientists how to get their expertise used.”


Why Passion Works

This Ten Second Tease elevator speech method gets right to heart of who you are – and as such it makes it easier for people to relate.  It also is such an impactful way to catch someone’s attention.  Similarly to the Awesome! Method, it demonstrates that you are enthusiastic – a trait to which others are drawn.  Again, people do not care what you do – they care who you are.  By being so upfront with who you are (through your passion), it will encourage the person you are talking with to open up more also.


What is extra great about the Passion Ten Second Tease method is that it also communicates what you would be looking for in your next role. While how you pursue your passions sometimes shift, your true passions do not change that often throughout your lifetime.  So even in those first few seconds of meeting someone, you’ve already shared with them a key aspect of what makes you thrive in a role.  If you are sure how to mix passion and career, read How to Pursue your Passion.


Don’t forget to download the free worksheet to guide you through the process of customizing your own Ten Second Tease Elevator Speech.


Tips for Any Ten Second Tease Elevator Speech

Before we get into the steps of building your Ten Second Tease, first consider these tips to apply to your elevator speech.


Tip 1 – Be a Leader

The M word.  We’ve all heard it.  And some of us are guilty of using it. “I am Ash Norton, Manager of the Blah Blah Blah Team.”  Ugh.  I HATE that.  The world does not need more managers.  We need more leaders.  Be a leader!  If you do share your title when meeting someone new, do not use the M world, please?! Introduce yourself as a leader!  


I used to feel sleazy after introducing myself as a “manager”.  To me it felt too hierarchical, like the team worked for me, instead of with me.    But once I figured out how to frame my introduction as a leader, I was proud to introduce my team and myself! “I am Ash Norton, and I lead the Cycle Chemistry Team” or “Ash Norton, Cycle Chemistry Team Leader” both allowed me to share my role within the group, without minimizing the roles of others.   


Tip 2 – Keep it SHORT

The whole point of this is to spark a conversation in which you are both genuinely interested in hearing about the other person.  If you go into some long rant, the other person’s eyes are going to glaze over real quick.  So be as concise and memorable as possible.


Tip 3 – Keep it SIMPLE

Your introduction and elevator speech should be worded in a way that anyone can understand it.  This often creates a challenge for engineers and scientists because the work is complex and highly technical.  It is critical though for engaging others that you communicate in a way that is easy to grasp.  


Tip 4 – Be Prepared for Questions

When executed properly, your Ten Second Tease elevator speech should encourage the other person to ask you more questions.  Think through what questions they might have and be prepared with some equally concise and engaging responses.  


How to Build YOUR Ten Second Tease Method

Let’s get to the meat of this exercise, shall we?? Below are the steps that you should follow in building your Ten Second Tease elevator speech.  You can download this Ten Second Tease worksheet for free here! This free worksheet will guide you through these steps so that by the end you are ready to crush it next time you have the opportunity to wow someone!


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Step 1 – Think about Your Audience

As with any sort of communication, it is critical for you to consider who your audience is going to be. As with Tip 3 above, the simpler the better.  But if you are going to a conference where there will other highly technical folks then you can get away with using more complex terms. However, if you will be attending a networking event at work where there will be people from across the organization, it is important that you explain your work in a way that anyone would understand.  


Step 2 – Brainstorm Key Points

Make a list of all of the interesting projects or aspects of you and your job.  

Think about:

What do you love about your job?  

What is your proudest work moment?  

What are some current interesting projects?

What are your passions?

How do your passions relate to your current role?


Step 3 – Pick Your Method

Decide on which method best fits with your audience, your main message, and your style.  Any of the described Ten Second Tease elevator speech methods can be effective, but it is important to find one that feels right for you.  The last thing that you want is for your first impression to seem fake or disingenuous.

Authenticity is critical to building trust and engaging others.  Keep in mind that ALL elevator speeches feel a little staged when you first start saying it – that’s where step 5 comes in!


Step 4 – Draft Your Message

This is when you pull your work from steps 1 through 3 all together!  Using the examples above, draft your Ten Second Tease elevator speech.  Consider your wording carefully.  Test it out a couple of times aloud.  

How does it sound?  The two things you’ll want to consider are does it sound enticing and does it sound like you.  If you cannot answer yes to both of these, then keep at it until you can!

Step 5 – Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you have nailed the wording of your Ten Second Tease elevator speech, say it over and over again. And then say it some more. Say it out loud. Say it when you wake up in the morning.  Say it in the shower.  Say it when you’re brushing your teeth. (Scratch that!  Just seeing who’s paying attention…. )  

But seriously, practice saying it all the time!  You want this to be as natural as possible rolling off your tongue.  Again, this should be short and simple, so practicing it a bunch is not that hard!  So keep practicing it until you are super comfortable with it.


Step 6 – Use it

Now that you’ve practiced the heck out of your Ten Second Tease elevator speech, get out there and USE IT!  Whether it is at a meeting or networking event, use it every chance you get.  


Pay attention to how the discuss goes after you use it. Are you getting the results you want?  Do people seem genuinely interested in continuing the discussion?  If so, Keep it up!  If not, proceed quickly to step 7!!


Step 7 – Revise it

After using it a few times, evaluate what worked well and what didn’t. Revise your Ten Second Tease elevator speech so that it fits even better. Since your experience, job role, and goals are ever-changing, so should your elevator speech.  


Well, there you have it folks! Don’t forget to download the free Ten Second Tease Elevator Speech worksheet to make crafting yours easy peasy!

So tell me, what are your tips for creating an elevator speech that works? Do you have an effective method that I didn’t cover? Join our Engineers with Impact Facebook group to  share it with the group!

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