Elevator pitch teaches vital speaking skills

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graphic by Sunil Bishwokarma

Imagine having ninety seconds to talk about all your skills and unique qualities that make you who you are.

At job fairs, most applicants only have about ninety seconds to promote themselves. During this time, they have to list their stellar qualities and convince the recruiters that they are the right fit for the job.

Last semester, the career center introduced the elevator pitch competition. This competition is meant to help students learn how to present themselves in a way that convinces job recruiters of their competence.

The contest is judged by professors that are selected based on their public speaking experience.

Kristin Chandler, director of the career center, explained there are two aspects of the competition, one targeted toward job interviews and the other targeted toward presenting a business idea.

She also said that there will be two versions of the event. One will be virtual for the online students while the other will be face-to-face. This is to provide inclusivity for the event.

“This competition is beneficial to all majors since everyone will have to network or interview for a job position one day,” Chandler said. “In addition to helping students with their public speaking skills, this is also an opportunity for students to identify and develop their brand.”

One of the faculty that judged the competition last semester was Kelsey Bohl, executive director of marketing and university communication. She expressed her enthusiasm for the chance to help students develop outside of classroom learning.

“As a judge, we were looking for a clear and concise pitch that is convincing to us with sound technicalities,” Bohl said. “We also pay attention to the body language of the competitors and look out for those that are leaning on crutch words.”      

Raphael Akinpelu, a junior computer information systems major, who is competing in this semester’s competition, said he did not hear about the competition last semester, but is looking forward to competing this time around.

“This is a good experience and a good way for me to learn how to pitch and sell out my ideas to potential investors,” Akinpelu said. “It also allows me to recognize my abilities and limitations so I can work to improve them.”

At the competition last semester, Toni Corso came in first with Justin Paul in second and Asja Jordan third.

Bohl said that she enjoyed seeing the creativity of the competitors last semester.

“I commended their courage to be able to put themselves out there and engage in public speaking,” she said. “I encourage all students to participate in these events.”