At some point, we’ve all been asked the question, “So, what do you do?” And for too many people, this question is a wasted opportunity because they aren’t confident talking about themselves and what they do for a living.
That’s why it’s essential to go into these situations prepared with an impactful elevator pitch. A well-crafted elevator pitch can help you stand out to other people and find more professional opportunities in the future.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief explanation of your talents and what you have to offer potential employers or clients. It can be used at career fairs, networking events, or even in your LinkedIn bio.
You can use an elevator pitch to sell yourself as a potential job candidate, to pitch a project, or to create interest in your company’s product or service. A good elevator pitch should highlight a problem you solve and demonstrate what makes you, your service, or your company stand out.
The ideal elevator pitch length is between 30 seconds to a minute—just long enough to get your message across and leave the other person wanting to learn more. In other words, you should be able to deliver your pitch within a short elevator ride.
How to Write an Elevator Pitch
So now that you understand what an elevator pitch is and why it matters, how can you come up with your own? Let’s look at five elevator pitch ideas to help you get started.
1. Outline the Goal of Your Elevator Pitch
You want to start by identifying the goal you’re trying to achieve with your elevator pitch. For instance, are you trying to get the word out about your product or service?
Or is your primary goal to find a new job within your industry or land a project within your area of expertise? Understanding what you’re trying to accomplish will help you create a more compelling and targeted pitch.
2. Introduce Yourself
You want to start your elevator pitch with a one-sentence introduction of yourself. This sentence should be brief, but it should also capture the other person’s interest. For instance, here are a few elevator pitch examples for job seekers:
- “I’m Sarah, and I help kids discover a love of reading.”
- “Hi, my name is Jeanine, and I help companies sell more products and stand out online.”
- “My name is Scott, and I help companies meet their deadlines and create a better workflow.”
3. Explain What You Do
Once you’ve captured the other person’s attention, it’s time to get into the specifics of what you do and how you help. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you do this:
- Outline a problem you solve: Who is your target audience, and what is the problem you help them solve?
- Explain your unique selling proposition (USP): Your unique selling proposition is what sets you apart from others in your industry—why should someone hire you or choose your company?
- Talk about your “why”: Your elevator pitch isn’t just about what you say—it’s also about how you say it. Talking about why you love what you do will help you stay excited and will make your pitch more attractive to other people.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you’ve written your elevator pitch, read it aloud several times to see how it sounds. Record yourself reading it and when you listen, go through and cut out anything that’s unnecessary or feels off-topic.
It can also be helpful to practice with other people and ask for their feedback. Are you talking too fast, or is your elevator pitch too long? Does it sound conversational, or is it too stiff?
Be mindful of the body language you use when you deliver your pitch as well. Practice making eye contact and shaking hands with the other person. The best elevator pitch will sound confident and won’t seem overly rehearsed.
5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Whenever you meet someone new and give your elevator pitch, you should always end the conversation by looking for a way to follow up with that person. For instance, you could connect with them on LinkedIn, ask for their business card, or set up a time to meet for coffee.
Remember, your elevator pitch is just an introduction to get the other person curious about you. The results will come when you follow up and focus on building relationships with people.
Elevator Pitch Mistakes to Avoid
By now, you understand how to write your elevator pitch and hopefully have a few elevator pitch ideas. But as you’re getting started, watch out for these common mistakes:
- Sounding too salesy: When you give your elevator pitch, you never want to come across as pushy. If you sound like you’re trying to sell yourself to the other person, it will likely turn them off. The best way to avoid doing this is by focusing on the other person instead of yourself—what problems do they have that you can help them solve?
- Using too much jargon: Don’t fall into the trap of using too much jargon. You may think it makes you sound knowledgeable, but it will likely just cause your audience to lose interest.
- Not engaging with the other person: Another common mistake is barreling through your elevator pitch and not giving the other person time to respond. The whole point is to engage with the other person and to build a new connection. After you’re done speaking, give the other person a chance to respond to what you said.
- Using the same pitch for everyone: And finally, you want to use your elevator pitch as a guide, not a script. At times, it may be necessary to modify it depending on whom you’re speaking to and the environment you’re in.
The Bottom Line
An elevator pitch is a valuable tool you can use to build relationships and find more business opportunities, whether you’re looking for a new job or for your next client. Always look for opportunities to practice your pitch and update it to make it better.
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