“So, what do you do?”
“This is often the first question we ask strangers. On the surface, it seems like an ordinary question, one we ask each other every day, a servile four-word nicety we utter so we have something—anything!—to talk about.” – Joshua Fields Millburn, co-creator of The Minimalists
It’s a loaded question that has become synonymous with “Who are you?” in polite conversation: It’s helpful. It’s tell-me-more-about-you shorthand. But more than likely you’ve struggled to answer that question.
Well, now imagine the person asking is someone you really admire (e.g., an industry peer, investor, potential mentor, advisor or client)—your answer could change the trajectory of your company and your life.
This is why having an elevator pitch is so important. It’s difficult to know when you will need to share your skills and your passion. Having an elevator pitch ready can be very handy when the perfect situation arrives.
Elevator Pitch Essentials
Your elevator pitch should last no more than 30 to 60 seconds depending on the situation. It should communicate, in a very clear manner, your most important skills and why the person listening should care.
Before you start writing your elevator pitch considers these essentials:
- Who are you? Give brief personal information, relevant to the person listening.
- What do you do and where? Explain your role within the company.
- Why do they need to know? Share how you can be helpful or create value.
- How you are different? Not only different but how are you better than others and why.
However, verbal communication is not the only thing that impacts the success of your pitch. Your body language, posture and movements will tell the other person if you are really interested. Facial expressions can show your interest and excitement. Your smile, combined with eye contact and a firm handshake, inspire confidence and sincerity.
Brainstorming the Perfect Pitch
To start the brainstorming process to create or refine your elevator pitch, here are four useful tips:
Describe what you do in various ways.
Write it down and don’t edit your notes at first; let your imagination run wild.
Write down your differentiators.
What makes you different from others who do the exact same thing? Do you have advanced qualifications? More experience? Or an interesting backstory that gives you a different perspective and approach? What makes you unique in comparison to others that are in your role.
Make a list of your strengths.
Consider interpersonal skills you possess such as being a team player, dependable, punctual, confident or a strong communicator. These skills will help you connect and identify your value.
Are you looking to take on new clients or expand your company through strategic partnerships? Are you actively seeking mentorship? Keep it fresh and be clear on your primary goal.
Ultimately, your elevator pitch is simply a clear statement that describes what you do, how you help others and what makes you different. It should be concise, clear (i.e., no jargon) and targeted with your objectives in mind. And don’t forget to close with a hook – prompt the other person to ask questions, share information and keep the conversation going strong.
Infographic Source: Open Colleges
This article has been edited and condensed.
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