An elevator pitch is a strong 30-second answer to the question, “What do you do?” The way you position your story is a make-or-break moment for the next phase of your career. As first impressions form in seconds, it’s crucial to develop a quick, yet effective way of exciting people. Don’t underestimate the power of your elevator pitch and the places it could take you.
A Pitch Tailored to Your Career
Think about the greatest things you’ve accomplished and the pivotal points that brought you success in your career. This is your hook. Drive with this information as your starting point to capture your audience’s attention. You’ll only have thirty seconds or less to connect with your listener, so make every word count.
When starting to think about your pitch, here’s a four-step process to help get your thoughts on paper:
The Power Statement
“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” — Steve Jobs
Tactic: Focuses on what the listener wants
The Straightforward Approach
A classic formula created by advertising legends Claude Hopkins and David Ogilvy:
I/We Help (Niche/Target Audience) To (Solve Problem/Get Result/Magical Solution) By (What Service/Product You Offer)
Tactic: Wastes no time in getting straight to the point
A Success Story
“I helped my most recent client double her following in six months and increase her engagement rates by 5%. If you’re looking to boost your numbers, consider me as your social media director.”
Tactic: Shows that you can produce results quickly
Pro Tip: Remember to rehearse the pitch aloud as you write. Adjust the verbiage to be a nice balance of colloquial, yet professional terminology.
Take Your Pitch From Good to Great
You’ve culled down your pitch to the final draft. What’s the extra push you can give to refine your content even more? If you are pursuing executive positions, prepare to pitch against the best in the industry. Practice your pitch beforehand to see if your colleagues are convinced. Once your pitch flows effortlessly and you can recite without hesitation, you are ready.
Testing Your Pitch
When the moment finally strikes and you have the chance to present, take in your surroundings and adapt your pitch to the moment at hand. This is your opportunity to convince the listener that you know how to solve their problems. The less industry jargon you present, the better. Instead, lead with empathy and understanding of their role.
End with a Call-to-Action
Once the speaker has listened to your pitch, you will want to guide them on the next steps. Be assertive in your delivery and ask for a meeting, express interest in a job, or connect with them on LinkedIn. If they respond with a yes — thank them — and remember to get their contact information so you can follow up.
The Bottom Line
Elevator pitches aren’t limited to any medium — they can be experienced on a multitude of platforms, including web, trade events, demo days, or even television. But regardless of where your pitch lives and how it’s communicated, remember to say it straight and say it great. Your future company and investors will recognize great talent when they see it.
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