First impressions can sometimes last a lifetime. Be sure you make a good one!
Having a killer elevator pitch is one way to make a lasting first impression. It allows you to succinctly share an idea or introduce yourself in a clear, concise way. The elevator pitch got its name as it can be delivered in its entirety during an elevator ride, typically 30-60 seconds long.
Whether you are looking for a job, promotion, or ways to advertise your own business, you want to grab people’s attention, pique their curiosity, and compel them to ask follow-up questions.
Here are six easy tips to help you craft a killer elevator pitch.
Hook Your Listener
You have seven seconds to grab your audience’s attention. You need to immediately pique their curiosity and make them want to hear the whole pitch.
There are several different ways to do this. Here are two effective ways.
1. Ask a question. If your question is relevant to your pitch and it could potentially benefit your listener, you’ve immediately got their attention. For example, ask them if they know a simple fact about your industry or how your specialty could help them.
2. Grab their attention… with something thought-provoking. For example, a graduate of an IT program researched how much large companies save by having an in-house IT employee versus contracting it out and used this information to grab the CEO’s attention. Whatever your opening line is, make sure it directly benefits your listener!
What Differentiates You From Everyone Else?
If you’re looking for a job, why should someone hire you instead of anyone else? What’s special about you? You may have a natural talent, a unique skill set, or specialized knowledge that gives you an edge over the competition. It may even be your experiences in your previous employment, volunteer work, or simply your life’s struggles that you’ve overcome. Make sure you stand out from the pack.
WIIFM – What’s in it for Me?
You know everyone is thinking “What’s in it for me?” while you’re talking, so stop them from guessing and tell them. Your elevator pitch isn’t so much about you and your skills or knowledge as it is about how your uniqueness will benefit them. For example, when I pitch corporate training workshops, I tell businesses how I can help them improve their team’s communication skills to significantly increase their sales. That makes what I’m saying relevant and immediately beneficial to them.
Have a Call to Action
What is it that you want your audience to do? Most people will say “I want them to hire me!” A 30-second pitch does not provide enough information to make a hiring decision, but they will have enough to decide whether they are interested and want to know more.
An elevator pitch is not meant to be a hard-sell pitch. It’s meant to quickly generate interest in you to make you memorable. Looking for a job? Ask the owner to go for coffee to further discuss your qualifications. Don’t be intimidated or afraid to ask for what you want – an interview.
Always ask for that follow-up meeting to expand on the details. Get their business card so you can follow-up, and give them your card (even if it just has your name and contact info on it) so they remember who you are and can contact you.
Write it out and Practise it
Realistically, most people aren’t as good on their feet as they think, especially when they are nervous. Writing it out will help ensure that you have all the required elements to create a killer pitch. The process will also help you eliminate the excess information and repetition so your message is clear and concise. Then practice, practice, practice! You want to sound enthusiastic and confident so that people will take you seriously.
Learn When to Shut Up!
Have you ever talked to someone who rambled on and on forever talking about themselves and you aren’t the least bit interested? Exactly! Don’t waste your time or other people’s time if they aren’t interested.
The biggest mistake you can make is to over-talk. You don’t need to flood your audience with your brilliance by telling them every detail about yourself – less is more! I guarantee you that if people are interested, they will ask follow-up questions.
Make sure your elevator pitch is between 30-60 seconds. Time it. Time it again.
In networking situations, learn to talk in soundbites. Your original elevator pitch should be less than a minute, and follow-up answers should not be any longer than 2-3 minutes. This allows your listener to guide the conversation towards what information is most relevant to them.
By having a well-crafted killer elevator pitch, you make yourself memorable. Even if they don’t ask a follow-up question immediately, they may still contact you later when a position opens up or give your card to someone they know who may want to hire you. Get out there, be prepared and master your pitch – you’ll be happy you did!