Why You Need An Elevator Pitch And How To Develop One
Imagine this scenario: you happen to bump into a renowned figure in an elevator and you really want to impress them, but only have one elevator ride to do so! What do you say?
That is what elevator pitch is for, it is a short pitch or introduction that allows people a glimpse into your professional profile. Here are some tips to help you understand why you need an elevator pitch and how to develop one.
Why is it important to have an elevator pitch?
You only get one chance to create a first impression, and they are difficult to change. It is not only important for entrepreneurs or salesmen, but for anyone who wants to build their personal brands.
Being able to articulate your interests or profession well allows people to be more intrigued and even excited to get to know your, or your business, better. Especially now that we’re joining a lot of virtual events, having a short and sweet way to talk about yourself is crucial in networking.
When you’re job-hunting, elevator pitches are also important during interviews to give your prospective employers a good understanding of your background and passions.
1. Components of a good elevator pitch
Personally, I have two generic ones which I’ve memorized: one to introduce my role, another to introduce my company (our services are pretty unique, so I figured it’s important to be able to explain it well in a succinct way). However, a good elevator pitch is dependent on the context of the event and which aspect of you or your life you want to highlight.
Here is my example: “I’m part of the Corporate Communications and Culture department in my company, where I support the CEO’s office with internal and external communications and lead talent and development initiatives.”
The three components I include in my pitch are:
- A clear introduction – it took time to refine these sentences to perfectly encapsulate my role but I decided on the aspects of “internal and external communications” as well as “talent and development” because they are what I most enjoy. More importantly, these are the areas of career paths I want to chart for myself.
- Keywords – such as “CEO’s office” and “lead… initiatives”. It’s important to drop keywords to impress others (to a certain extent) and gain credibility.
- A familiar tone – there’s no use to add bombastic words that are not my usual lingo. This is because it would end up sounding weird or unnatural. Sticking with a tone, voice, or words you’re more familiar with also allows you to deliver it more confidently.
How to deliver a good elevator pitch
In life, many of us tend to fall flat in our work when we lack confidence. We at times look around those who are more outspoken and extroverted and wonder how great it would be to have their confidence. And honestly, the same goes for a person who is into the ‘hustle culture’. While they may not be the best at their work, they push themselves to want to do better until they can gain the confidence needed.
1. Craft a good message. Here are some questions to guide you
- What are the main two aspects of my life or role that I want to highlight?
This could also be very dependent on the context. For example, there are times where I’d like to pitch myself as a freelance writer to get more writing gigs. I then have to pitch about my writing portfolio and show that I’m a nicer person to work with.
- How can I summarize it into two sentences?
We might feel tempted to jam-pack the two sentences with as much information as possible, but that might not be necessary. Those who are intrigued or interested would ask questions or connect for more details, invest your time in the few that might be interested; rather than trying to impress the crowd who doesn’t actually care. It is important to be able to introduce your unique selling propositions in a short and sweet manner.
- What are some keywords I can include?
This should be aligned with what you are trying to highlight: it could be your leadership qualities, depth of knowledge, or breadth of experiences. For example, “I’ve been in sales for 20 years”, or “I lead a team of 50 developers”.
2. Practice, practice, practice
I rehearse my pitches very often: while I’m driving, in front of the mirror, with friends and family. This is so that it sounds natural and also prevents me from fumbling through my sentences.
3. Ask for feedback
Try it with senior citizens, children, partners – ask if they fully understand what you’re saying and whether or not it sounds interesting enough for them to want to know more.
Growing up in a more conservative community, I was told that we need to practice modesty and humility. However, being able to introduce myself confidently is not mutually exclusive to humility – I am not trying to brag, simply sharing my portfolio. There is nothing wrong with wanting to seize opportunities to expand our networks or share our passions. So whether you are a salesman or simply trying to share your interests, have elevator pitches ready in your pockets! You’d never know when it could come in handy.
If you’re interested in learning more about presenting a pitch at work, check out this article on How Do You Actually Ace That Presentation?