Developing a killer infomercial speech

Alan Ludmer

Over the past 20 years I have advised innumerable clients and others that a great infomercial speech is critical to their career campaign. It is an essential part of successful networking. As you probably know, an elevator speech is a personal marketing speech designed to communicate to the listener what you have to offer a future employer and the type of employment you seek in less than 60 seconds.  I have learned that while everyone wants a great speech; the challenge is how to develop it.

A great  speech begins with the mind set of transitioning from did to do.  What you did is not nearly as important to an employer as what you will do for them in the future.  You need to quickly and positively demonstrate your value to a prospective employer.  Focus upon being brief and succinct; it is not your life story.  Remember, it has to be less than 60 seconds. You must demonstrate passion and ability. The following are five key points to cover in developing a killer speech.

  • Focus on the future.   The past is not important.  The only thing that matters is what you can do for a future employer today.
  • Provide specific information regarding what you have to offer.   I am a marketing professional who has been successful in developing new software markets in South East Asia.  I speak fluent Mandarin and Vietnamese.
  • Describe what employee type you are.  Use past performance appraisals to obtain key descriptive words or phrases about you.  My last boss described me as a results driven sales manager who is energetic, realistic and people orientated.
  • Build credibility with qualified examples of success.  Use numbers, dollars and percentages to quantify your success.  I opened new South East Asian software markets totaling $25 million.  This represented a 20 increase in total company growth.
  • Be clear on what type of employment you seek.  I am looking for a sales marketing position that can utilize my language skill and marketing experience in Asia.

Before you begin writing your speech, develop a list of your key personal features. You can use a self directed process to determine these features. 

  1. Start with a personal brain storm session.  Write down all your features and benefits to future employers.
  2. After a night’s rest, cut the list in half.  Focus on what you really like to do and what you really enjoy.
  3. Re-cut your list to 3-5 skills, stick to passion and ability.  
  4. Use these 3-5 skills to tell a story that demonstrates your ability to be successful for a new employer.  Use the SAR method.  S = situation, use 1-3 sentences to present the situation. A = action, use 5-8 sentences to explain your contribution.  How did you personally add value?  R = results, use 1-2 sentences to present results.  Quantify results as much as possible.

Your speech must demonstrate the application of your skills in the real world and show a future benefit to a potential employer.  Tie your skill to they type of position you seek.  Show passion and ability.  Go very easy on the generic buzz words; everyone is an energetic people person team player.  Make sure your features lead directly to the position you are seeking.

Write you speech out, memorize it, and make sure it is under a minute, and practice, practice, practice. You must know it by rote. Only then will it sound real and you will be comfortable changing pieces of it to fit specific occasions. Practice your speech by saying it to a mirror.  You must sound passionate, credible and believable.  If you don’t, you will never impress a referral source or a future employer.

Alan Ludmer is the president of ARL, LLC; specializing in individual career transitions, outplacement, and career and executive coaching, and search/recruitment. He is the lead consultant for the JF&CS LifeLine Program. For more information contact [email protected].