How to Hone Your Elevator Pitch

September, 29, 2017 SusanGraham | Posted in: Featured Post

Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch? It’s an explanation people use to sell an idea, boiled down to 10 or 15 seconds — you know, the time it takes to go from the first floor to the second on an elevator.

While you often hear people ask for the “elevator pitch” regarding new business concepts and alliances, it can also apply to selling the most important thing you have to offer: you. Your elevator pitch should sum up all your best qualities in a unique and pithy way.

An elevator pitch can come in handy in lots of situations:

  • Job interviews
  • Expos
  • Conferences

And it’s not just limited to networking events. When you get introduced to a new person anywhere, even at your kid’s soccer game, you can bust out a modified version of your elevator pitch to explain what you do.

How can you hone your elevator pitch so it’s the perfect length and shines a flattering light on all the amazing things you do? Here are a few ideas.

1. Cut the Jargon

Whether you’re in IT or healthcare, every field is filled with jargon — SEO, co-pays, accountability, clouds, silos … it’s enough to make your head spin even when you understand the terms, but you will totally lose your listener if they are not in your field. Use simple, understandable language in your pitch.

BEFORE: “I architected a shift in paradigm that brought everyone on board to a new CMS.”

AFTER: “I oversaw a switch from one content management system to another.”

2. Address Your Passion

Dry is good for crackers, but not for elevator pitches. You want to show your enthusiasm and your drive, and you can do that by focusing on something you truly care about, even if it’s not the most important thing about your job.

BEFORE: “I sell widgets to healthcare companies. I have worked in this area for three and a half years.”

AFTER: “Widgets are my passion because one of them helped save my aunt in her battle against cancer. I jumped into the industry and became a widget evangelist.”

3. Focus on Your Audience

Elevator pitches change a little bit every time you make them. Keep this in mind when you speak to people. You want to communicate with your audience. If that’s a CEO of a company you bump into at a networking event, what you say should differ than what you’d say to someone at an interview.

Practice different versions of your pitch that emphasize things that will interest your audience. For instance, you should touch on something related to Big CEO’s business in that pitch, while focusing on the benefits you could provide a new company in your interview.

4. Be Brief

Ten to 15 seconds goes by fast. Think of this as the blurb on your memoir, not the memoir itself.

Does this all sound overwhelming? The good news is, you will get a lot of chances in life to make your elevator pitch, which means lots of chances to perfect it. Play around with words and focus points. You will get the hang of it quickly.

To see videos of some excellent elevator pitches, watch our Twitter account on Thursdays during October. You can follow us @SGConsulting_PA.


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