What do you do? The infamous question asked over and over again at social gatherings the world over. It’s a simple question and no one expects to hear a line by line account of your three page resume. You have 60 seconds or less to give an inspiring answer. Go!
This response is known as an elevator pitch was popularized by Melanie Griffith in the 80’s movie Working Girl, where she actually made the pitch in an elevator. It is the sound bite you deliver when given the chance to explain who you are and what you seek in about the time it would take to ride an elevator 20 floors up. The best pitches are less than a minute, about 200 words, and give the listener both everything they need to know while leaving them wanting more.
In How to Become a Rainmaker, Jeffrey J. Fox emphasizes the unusual and rare value of meeting with a decision maker. As Fox points out in detail, “Appointments with decision makers are relatively rare events…crucial to getting the sale.”
Whether it is a chance encounter in an elevator or a scheduled meeting, you don’t want to leave success to chance. You need to plan this response. Here are a few tips to craft you elevator pitch:
1. Figure out what is unique about what you do
The whole idea behind a great elevator pitch is to intrigue someone. It’s an ice-breaker and a marketing pitch — all rolled into one. Your elevator pitch must have a hook. “I’m an administrative assistant” doesn’t hold a candle to “I’m a specialist in meeting planning and have coordinated over 30 events in the past year including the March of Dimes Fun Run, attended by over 5,000 runners”
2. Make it exciting
A superior elevator pitch increases your heart rate. It speaks to who you really are and what excites you about your accomplishments. It has integrity. What is it that really motivates you? Incorporate that.
3. Keep it simple
A good elevator pitch has three or less “golden nuggets.” You may bring 50 or more great things to a company, but as soon as you get to talking about the fourth reason you are great, your audience has probably forgotten #1, which was the most important.
4. Write it down
Use the guidelines above and take a stab at it. Write down your pitch, say it out loud, re-write it and then re-write it again. Remember what my editor always says: “Writing is re-writing!”
5. Practice, and then practice some more
The first few times you try out your elevator pitch may be a bit uncomfortable, but it gets easier. After a while, it will become second nature to you, and when it does, you will be glad you practiced.
You never know what will come from having a great, natural, elevator pitch, but you can bet that you’ve just increased your chances that it will be good.
After completing the Communicate to Win workshop, you will have the most compelling argument and the best ideas. With this complete package, you will gain the tools necessary to guarantee that you have the best ideas and that you can present them confidently so you will WIN. Read what participants say.
photo by bogenfreund