Networking

Elevator Pitches

An effective elevator pitch is designed to help you introduce yourself and break the ice in networking situations. You can also use your elevator pitch to clarify your target audience and business goals for your own use, and become more confident and self-assured when speaking with employers or businesses.

As you write your elevator pitch, follow these nine tips to make it a powerful tool you can use over and over again for networking and marketing your skills and knowledge.

Keep It Short and Sweet

It's called an elevator pitch for a reason; you have a limited time to make a good first impression. Craft an elevator pitch that takes you about 60 seconds to deliver at a good pace (roughly 150-250 words).

Edit Ruthlessly

An effective elevator pitch is like a work of art, and as the artist, you may feel that there is always room for improvement. This is a good perspective to have because the more you are able to look at your elevator pitch with a critical eye, the more you will be able to improve it with each edit.

Skip Industry Jargon

Assume your audience has no understanding of your education, experience, skills, or goals. You want to be able to use your elevator pitch in front of anyone and know that they will have an understanding of what you have to offer.

Say It in a Mirror

An elevator pitch on paper is very different from one said out loud. Read your elevator pitch in your head, read it out loud, and then recite it in a mirror to make sure it flows and sounds conversational. It's usually a good idea to run it by a colleague, friend or family member, too, to get a fresh perspective.

Memorize It and Practice

You won't have the benefit of a cheat sheet when you're in a live situation, so memorizing your elevator pitch is vital. The challenge is committing it to memory while delivering it naturally. The more you practice delivering your elevator pitch, the easier it will be to sound conversational and relaxed.

Show Your Passion

The best elevator pitches are those that are memorable, unique, engaging and lead to further conversation. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by showing the passion you have in what you do. Show that your fire and the passion can be contagious.

Create Multiple Flavors

If you follow a step-by-step elevator pitch formula, it's easy to substitute new information to change your elevator pitch to fit any audience. Once you're comfortable editing, rearranging and substituting, you can create a few different versions ahead of time, or substitute in the most relevant information possible on the fly.

Identify Your Desired Action

Just as with other marketing activities, include a call to action at the end of your elevator pitch. Outline what you want to happen next, which may include giving the other person a chance to ask you questions, introducing you to a colleague, or scheduling a time to talk in more detail.

Pass the Mic

You've put a lot of time into your elevator pitch, so it will be a big relief once you've delivered it successfully. But don't forget about the person on the receiving end. The best way to transition from a successful elevator pitch to a successful conversation is giving the other person a chance to wow you with his or her own elevator pitch.

Steps for creating your elevator pitch.

Step 1:

Introduce yourself and say who you are.

Step 2:

Describe what you do. Write 1-2 sentences about what you do that would be of value to potential employers.

Step 3:

Explain what's unique and different about you. Write 1-2 sentences about what sets you apart from every other potential employee.

Step 4:

State what you want to happen next. Write 1-2 sentences that identifies what you want your audience to do next.

Example:

"I'd love to schedule a time to talk more about some opportunities with your organization, and explore how we may be able to work together."

Step 5:

Create an attention-getting hook. Write 1-2 sentences that pulls in your audience and gets them engaged in what you're about to say.

Step 6:

Put it all together. Combine the statements you drafted in the previous steps, putting Step 5 first. Then, add transitions and edit it until it flows conversationally and captures the most important information.