What Is An Elevator Pitch And Why Does It Matter
You’ve accidentally bumped into a former client at the airport. After exchanging a hello, they ask you what your new company does. You open your mouth and then pause. Where on earth do you start? Scary? Absolutely. But it could happen to you at any time and you’ll want to be prepared.
The aptly named “elevator speech” or “elevator pitch” is a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes someone to ride the elevator to their floor.
Even if this exact situation with someone important never occurs, it is a good skill to master for when you ’re introducing yourself during an interview, a sales pitch, or a networking event. People are very busy these days, and being able to communicate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively will ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.
Steps For A Powerful Elevator Speech
- Start Basic. Define who you are, what you do and who you interact and solve problems for. If you have information about the person you’re speaking to, use it to tailor your elevator pitch. Highlight a couple of your past experiences that demonstrate that you’re exactly what they’re looking for.
- Why you are valuable. Human capital is the biggest investment companies make, so they want to get it right every time. Hiring managers will think about the return on investment they’ll get from each candidate, that’s why getting right to your skills and experience will serve you well. Communicate why you are unique and valuable.
- Make It Memorable. Make it more personable, relatable, and most importantly, memorable by adding in a story or an anecdote, and a couple of compelling highlights. In the end, you just have to be yourself. If you aren’t, your counterfeit speech will not hold up. Let your personality come through. Hard-working and personable are not contradictory traits.
- Engage. After you define yourself, state your value and make them relate, its time to engage them. Ask an open-ended question to engage and learn more about them and their business.
- Wrap it up and have a follow-up plan. Have a quick conclusion and end with a way to follow up. At this point, all you want is that first but all-important fact-finding meeting, where you can assess the customer’s needs and mutually decide whether you can meet those needs. Ask them if they would like your resume or more information, and email it to them promptly. A great elevator pitch can get your foot in the door, but a standout resume can really set things in motion.
Just remember that you are trying to make an impression during a short period of time. An effective elevator pitch can help you introduce yourself, break the ice and leave them wanting to know more. An easy way to think of your pitch is as an executive summary that provides a quick overview of your business and details why you are going to be successful. Spending some time crafting, editing and refining your pitch can turn your next unexpected meeting into a world of new opportunities.