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At the 31 second mark, what words come out of your mouth? This is an important question you need to not only answer, but demonstrate. You want that job, don't you?

By now, everyone has heard of the importance of having a 30 Second Elevator Speech ready to blast upon a potential Employer or someone who can introduce you. You know the importance of an attention grabbing statement that solidifies your position as the best choice for the job. You've practiced the talk track over & over again until you can say it in your sleep — and maybe you're talking in your sleep!

Guess what? You need more! You need to be able to carry on a conversation that goes beyond this short time limit — that minute window in time that provides an opportunity to shine.

Let's look at it from a very different angle. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past century, you're probably familiar with the opening video for most cartoons. Just like a well-prepared 30 second elevator speech, the cartoon music 30 second time runs out and now you're faced with the decision of whether you want to stick around for more, or not. The goal is to not only grab your attention, but to keep it! Does your 30 second elevator speech result in a longer conversation with a potential Employer or does it end abruptly at 31 seconds?

How do you grab and hold attention when you're the one doing all the talking in 30 second spurts? Well, you gotta come up for air sometime. Hopefully, before time runs out and you're left standing and wondering what the heck just happened! You don't want to talk yourself out of a job; you want to engage a potential Employer in a conversation!

They can either TALK or WALK, but it's up to you to keep the conversation going.

So, here's a list of

10 Things You Can Do At the 31 Second Mark To Keep The Conversation Going:

1. Do your homework on the company and have a great set of relevant questions ready to ask. Make sure it ties in nicely with the benefits you bring to the potential Employer and how you can help them succeed. Ask and listen. Don't play 20 questions here!

2. Ask if it is okay to take the stairs instead of the elevator. You just bought yourself more time to chat, PLUS you'll probably briefly discuss something obscure such as the importance of fitness. Listen closely for clues that reveal something personal about the prospective Employer. Do they run, ride bikes, or climb mountains for fitness? Did they have an early meeting that kept them out of the gym this morning? You might get steps closer to earning a salary while you burn some calories! (You're looking for clues as to how you may or may not fit into the organization. You're learning about your potential new Boss. Pay attention.)

3. Find out how many other military-affiliated Employees they have. Ask to get a name and number or two so you can contact them to learn more from those who share your past military experiences. This shows interest and the potential Employer probably enjoys sharing this information with people who share a military affiliation.

4. Ask for a company tour. This will get you more time around the place you wish to work. After the tour is over, don't rush off too quickly. Find the Hiring Manager or Veteran employees you met and follow-up by sharing what you learned and remind them how you can be an asset at their organization. And, if you have to schedule the tour for another day, plan it so that you start before lunch and see if you can enjoy a meal in the company of the company you want to be a part of!

5. Accidentally push all the buttons on the elevator to buy more time! (Just kidding!)

6. Show up with an article about what their competition is doing. If you want to stop a potential Employer dead in their tracks, bring up the topic of competition and a specific competitor. Know all the details about that article too and be ready to discuss an example of how you handled a similar situation or how you would love to be on the team that overcomes a competitive threat.

7. Check cyberspace for articles related to the person you're meeting with. If you can spark interest in an event, charity, award, or other recognition that's important to your future Employer, you will be remembered! (But, you have to do this with finesse so it comes across as genuine and not "canned" or like you're kissing up too much.)

8. Ask for another meeting with anyone you've met. Things change, companies expand, people move on and leave openings, and the better you keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening, the better your chances of getting hired.

9. Keep giving your 30 second elevator speech until you get tired of all the job offers you've received. Better to have too many opportunities than not enough.

10. Continue to stay encouraged while exploring new and exciting ways to extend your talk time beyond 30 seconds. This is not speed dating folks! You want a long term relationship with the people you meet. You want to be able to make connections that stick. You need to learn more about them, but since they hold the power to hire, they need to learn more about you.

So, I hope this helps you prolong the conversations with the people who can help you get that job!