You may not realize it, but there will probably be hundreds of times in your life where you’ll need an elevator pitch – maybe at networking events, in a job interviews, or when you’re talking to a new work contact.
But what is an elevator pitch exactly?
Essentially, an elevator pitch is a short speech or conversation you have with a potential employer or new connection. It should cover the key points about yourself in order to give your new connection an idea of who you are and what you can offer them.
You may not always know when someone will ask you to tell them about yourself, so it’s important to have one ready to go just in case. Here are some tips to help you craft your perfect pitch!
Tip 1: Grab their attention & make them care
To make a strong first impression, make sure to include what you can do for the person in your pitch, as well as why they should care about what you’re saying and offering. Being able to answer these questions in a short blurb about yourself is key, because networking is a two-way street. Just as you’re likely hoping to gain something from your interaction, the person on the receiving end of your pitch should receive some benefit as well.
Additionally, make sure you’re grabbing your audience’s attention right off the bat by getting straight to the point. If you take a long time to get to the key takeaways, the person may lose interest in what you’re saying, and miss your main message.
Tip 2: Keep it short, but leave them wanting more
We’ve all probably been at an event, or met someone who talked our ear off, and all you wanted to do was move on to meet other people, or run away to escape the long and boring conversation. Don’t be that person! Instead, think of your pitch as the Coles Notes of your resume. Give some details to provide context, but don’t expand so much that you lose their attention. No one needs to know every duty and responsibility you have at your job – skip to the important stuff.
For example, instead of listing off everything I do in my current role as a Social Media Coordinator, I may tell them a few takeaways, like: “I’m currently working on a social media strategy that will be implemented by our team over the next 5 years,” or “We recently executed a really cool campaign where we had influencers take over our Twitter account for a day.” These points come off more conversational and spike conversation, as opposed to telling them broad points that are listed on your job description.
Tip 3: Be yourself
No one wants to feel as if you are delivering them a rehearsed script. Instead, work your elevator pitch into the conversation naturally.
For example, when you introduce yourself, say your name, introduce yourself and your title, like: “Hi! I’m Lauren and I’m a Social Media Marketer working for the non-profit, XYZ.” As the conversation continues, begin to weave in the key points you’d like to get across to the person. Try to tailor the pitch to them and not you.
By doing it this way, you’re putting out your role and expertise right from the start and opening the conversation up for questions, and the chance to speak more about the points you know you want to get across. Remember to be yourself and let your personality shine through!
Tip 4: Have a “call to action”
Make sure you don’t exit the conversation before you leave them with a “call to action.” Do you want to email them your resume or portfolio? Do you want them to check out your blog? Do you want them to send along some details about something you discussed?
Having a call to action at the end of your conversation will ensure a successful closure of the conversation, and a chance to connect again to have another conversation. Hint: This may be a good time to ask for their business card, or pass along yours!
Tip 5: Practice out loud
Writing your elevator pitch can be significantly easier than actually saying it out loud to real people. On paper, you have the ability to delete, rewrite, or start over as many times as you’d like, but saying it out loud in a real conversation can be a different story. That’s where practice comes in.
Obviously you can’t predict how a real-life conversation may go, but practicing your elevator pitch can help you better articulate your key points when you’re in the real situation. Practice can also help make you seem more confident and relaxed.
A good rule of thumb is to practice your pitch in front of your mirror, or with friends. This will give you an idea of your body language, and also give you the chance to get feedback that can help you improve.
Now that you have the tips to be successful in developing and delivering your elevator pitch, get out there and network!