Early one morning on my way to work the booth for a Job Fair in Chicago, I stepped into a quiet, but crowded elevator with a bunch of suited-up-job seekers. We were on our way up to the 25th floor. Slowly creeping upward (stopping at every floor), the friendly Midwest girl in me soon decides to break the deafening silence, ‘What’s everyone’s elevator speech?’ All eyes hit the floor in the perfect she-couldn’t-be-talking-to-me synchronicity.
‘Seriously’, I continued, ‘let’s rehearse our elevator pitches; after all, we’ll be giving this 1,000 times today.’ I threw my pitch out to the crowd… still nothing but dead air. There were blank stares all around me, people couldn’t wait to get off the elevator; one minute felt like an eternity.
Everyone on the elevator was a job seeker with resumes in hand; yet, no one on the elevator would or could tell me what they were seeking and why I should be interested.
What is an Elevator Pitch? My explanation is that an elevator pitch/speech is a short statement which should be used quickly and simply to define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition. Your pitch should get people interested to learn more about you. Everyone needs an elevator pitch, whether you are employed or unemployed; it is something that can be used on a daily basis.
Your opening pitch should get people interested. It shouldn't be delivered without value nor should you try to shove all your information into 30 seconds. The goal should be to get others as excited as you are about what you do and to start a conversation. You know if your elevator pitch is working if the person you are communicating with is asking you a question. If they don’t ask a question, you don’t have a good pitch.
Here are three things to shoot for when developing your elevator pitch:
Make it Concise An elevator pitch should be brief and to the point. You want to come out of the box with something clear and easy to comprehend that doesn't sound like an advertisement.
Know your Audience Aim your pitch to the person you are talking to at the time. (Yes, not every pitch will be the same.) Gear your pitch to be all about them and how you can help them. Everything you say about your product or service should be directed around how it can help them. You will lose a listener if you start talking about the awards you received or your success – no one cares – it is all about what is in it for them!
Convey your Passion Be passionate and show people that you care. (How is someone going to care about what you do if you don’t care first?) Speak from your heart, not from a manual, as to why you believe in your product or service and why they should care about it. You will stand out from the crowd if you convey passion.
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Need help creating your own Elevator Pitch? Here is a great tool to help you craft your own pitch-perfect Elevator Pitch: Elevator Pitch Generator.
Finally, always be prepared. You never know where you might need your pitch. Practice, Practice, Practice! Rehearse in front of a mirror, in front of friends and family. First impressions happen only ONCE! Don’t wing it; if you wing it, people will know. Arm yourself with answers to the toughest questions that might be thrown at you following your pitch. If you are prepared, you will be confident and ready to wow potential employers.