We’ve all been to those networking events to meet ‘n greet and learn more about each others businesses. Among the attendees are people in transition – either looking for a new job or career - or recent college grads looking for their first “real job.” At these events, I usually get a smile and a hello and I’ll learn his/her name and where s/he is from. But then my new acquaintance will tell me what s/he does. At that point, I see the eyes glaze over and a stiffness form in their body. And poof! An automaton appears and speaks with all the warmth of a concrete bridge abutment: “I’m in IT and I’m looKing for something in proGramming or manAgeMent, or eh, maybe, Well, maybe you have A need For Me? I’m skilled in X,Y,Z and blah, blah, blah.”

As a career transition coach, I have attended a number of job seekers meetings in the Atlanta area and have enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life who have a wealth of experience and talent. One of the things I have noticed as I meet and greet people is that they are usually effervescent and friendly—until they talk… about… what… they… do.

What strikes me about this entire routine is that it lacks passion. It seems that all of the enjoyment about the work that one does disappears when one is involved in a formal job search. It’s almost as if it’s inappropriate to express enthusiasm or, even worse, the enthusiasm is totally lost in the process.

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to reactivate that passion, to regain some of the excitement you had about the kind of work that you do or that you hope to do!

First, let’s talk about what an elevator speech is. It’s a short 15 to 30-second sound byte about you and what you want in your career that includes a(n):

• Brief and memorable introduction
• Spotlight on what’s unique about you
• Focus on the benefits and services you provide
• Effortless delivery

Elevator speeches are intended to prepare you for brief, chance encounters in elevators, supermarkets, Starbuck’s, parties, or wherever you want to present yourself as a possible job candidate. If you’re out of a job, this is probably all the time!

The elevator speech should include the services or features you provide and the benefits your clients or employers could receive from these services. It should also begin with a sentence that grabs the listener's attention. The best openers leave the listener wanting more information.

A great elevator speech rolls off your tongue easily. Practice your speech in front of a mirror. Present it to your friends. Say it while you’re making breakfast, lunch or dinner. Say it on a walk from you car to the supermarket, or while you are taking a shower. You might even record it on a tape recorder and listen to it. Check to see if you sound confident, sincere, and engaging to your listener.

Finally, add your passion. Take a moment to write down all the things you love about what you do. Incorporate that passion into your elevator speech. Work with a partner to talk about the things that you truly love/like about the work you do. Talk about a really good day at work. What was good about it? How did it make you feel? What was exciting about choosing your career and what you do?

But what if you really aren’t excited about what you do? If you don’t like what you do and want to make a change in your career, determine where your passions lie on your own. There are a number of resources that can help you find out what it is you truly want to do in your life and how you want to contribute to the world . Of course, you can always call a professional career transition coach to chat about your new career direction.

So what’s the point of adding the passion? Think about how you can bring that passion for your work wherever you go; e.g., information and job interviews, chats with neighbors, friends, and associates. Adding the passion will make you memorable!

Passion is infectious. People get caught up in it, especially when you express it from your heart. I can speak from personal experience on that one. Whenever I talk about coaching, people can’t help but get caught up in my excitement about what I do because I’m truly excited about it.

Employers want people who bring and share enthusiasm in their work. Imagine the advantage you will have over candidates who simply recite their experience. So send the automaton away. Present yourself with a new fervor. Let everyone know: “Look out, World. Here I come!”

Author's Bio: 

Peggy Titus-Hall is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach focusing on career transition and communications coaching and training. Peg works with individuals who are looking for their ideal careers and coaches organizations in need of employee communications and hiring support. She hosts an on-line radio program entitled “The Career Coach,” featuring experienced guests and topics for career transitioners and job seekers. She also publishes and distributes “The Coaching Call,” a monthly coaching/communications newsletter. Visit Peg’s Web site at http://www.peoplegrowthllc.com.