It takes planning to make a good first impression. And first impressions are usually made on the basis of just a few words.
Sometimes, a few words are all you have a chance to say to a decision-maker — a government contracting official or a representative of a prime contractor, for instance.
Companies who work with the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) tell us that decision-makers always seem to be in a hurry and want vendors to get right to the point. Similarly, government contracting people tell GTPAC that they are weary of dealing with ill-prepared vendors who just can’t seem to succinctly state what it is they’re an expert at doing.
These circumstances constitute a few of the reasons why vendors who want to make a good first impression with the contracting officials need to have what’s called an “elevator speech.”
Simply put, an elevator speech is what you are prepared to say, in 30 seconds or less, to describe your expertise.
The term “elevator speech” comes from a situation such as realizing you’re in an elevator with someone you’d like to impress … but you’ve got only a few floors to say anything before they get off the elevator.
What if you suddenly found yourself on an elevator with a contracting officer, an elected official, a prime contractor, or some other a potential customer? Are you ready to quickly and professionally describe the solutions you represent and the expertise you can deliver?
Here’s an outline of what a good elevator speech should address:
- Who and what you are
- What you specialize in
- What you do
- Why you’re the best at what you do
- What you want (a call to action)
Write a paragraph that addresses each of these five elements. Make it to-the-point and conversational in tone. Practice saying it in front of a mirror or to a colleague until you can say it smoothly, from memory, in 30 seconds or less. Once you have this mastered, you’ll have an elevator speech that you’re prepared to deliver — whenever you may need it.
Contact your GTPAC Procurement Counselor for further assistance in formulating your elevator speech.
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