An elevator pitch is essentially a short ‘speech’ to introduce yourself and or sell something (an idea? you?) in about the time it takes to ride up or down a few floors in an elevator. About 30 seconds or less.
If you are like most people, then my guess is you don’t enjoy introducing yourself to strangers. And introducing yourself to a room full of strangers can easily become an agonising experience. There are many reasons people find this less than one minute experience agonising. One of those reasons is lack of adequate introspection and preparation.
Introspection and preparation because ‘tell us about yourself’ is an invitation to shape how you want to be perceived, and also an invitation to sell yourself to potential customers, friends, employers, dates, business partners, even life partner. A well crafted and properly delivered pitch gets people interested in knowing more about you and may lead to the start of a beneficial relationship.
So, it’s serious business. However, if you haven’t thought about how you want to be perceived, and what aspects of your life and work you want to be selling, it becomes an instant crisis, and also a waste of opportunity.
If you’re seeking greater success in your career/ business, or simply just looking to extend your personal brand, one of the things you should absolutely get to the top of your to-do list ASAP is crafting and perfecting your elevator pitch. Or refining your pitch, if you already have one.
Here’s my approach to creating an elevator pitch that is both effective and memorable:
Think of yourself as a product. If you were to tell your friend about a product you’re excited about which they have never heard about before, how will that go?
Key Elements of Your Elevator Pitch
- What is it? Your full name / professional status or qualification – Giving your full name makes it so much easier to find you after the initial contact whether online or offline.
- What problem does it solve? Exactly that. What problem do you solve?
- For who? Which audiences do you solve the problem for? The more specific the better e.g women or young professionals rather than people.
- Other interesting facts? Something different to remember about you. Or a startling achievement that would interest the current audience or listener.
- Closing. If it’s a one on one pitch you may want to end with a question or poser for your listener, as a conversation starter.
Now, let’s introduce a bottle of coke to a dear friend who has never heard about it before and just asked about it.
“This is a bottle of coke. It’s a carbonated drink. I personally take it when I need to both quench my thirst and up my energy levels instantly. But, it’s also a huge hit for celebrations and all forms of social meet-ups for a lot of people. 10Million* bottles were sold last year. [Pause] Do you sometimes get thirsty or need to celebrate?”
*Abeg, I don’t work for Coca-Cola o, the 10 Million bottles is only for the purpose of illustration oo*
Actually, don’t you think I should consider a career in marketing/ copy writing? Lol…hahahaha..
Back to business…
If you happen not to be a bottle of coke, and you’re a Project Manager instead, you might say something like:
“My name is Emeka Idowu. I am a certified Project Manager. I manage Construction Projects with Dasuki & Co. My most recent Project was to build the 5th mainland bridge in Lagos. That project was valued at $10billion dollars and has already won 5 awards for its successful delivery.”
If I had the slightest interest in Project Management, I’ll definitely want to keep Emeka’s contacts, don’t you think? Yeah, I thought so too, not after that kinda pitch.
It sure helps when you have such a compelling success story, you’ll say. But everyone has a story, you just have to think about the compelling aspects of it and showcase that.
What to do/ Remember:
- Find your story, and craft a short version of it (the pitch): In order to find your story, you will need to schedule time to think through your journey so far, and most especially how you want to be perceived going forward. You may have to go through several drafts before finally arriving at something that is relatable, effective and memorable. Something that you both believe and are comfortable projecting about yourself. As a bonus, the introspection is priceless.
- Practice: Practice. Practice. Practice. It’s important to craft a standard pitch, and practice it over and over again in order to gain confidence in saying it. As you practice the pitch, you should also be mindful of delivering it with the right attitude – a smile and a confident body language are always great.
- Keep it relevant: You should be flexible enough to tailor your pitch to your current listener or audience as the case may be. You may in fact need to develop a few pitches to suit different situations, depending on who you’re speaking to, and what you’re trying to project.
- Keep it sincere and conversational: So much practice may make your pitch sound rehearsed and robotic. So you need to be careful. Your pitch must be completely true, relatable, and most importantly sound conversational. Why? Because, most people can sniff out an over-rehearsed attempt quite easily, and worse still sniff out a fake much more easily, and the pitch is surely a conversation starter with a fellow human being. So, relax and enjoy….
So, there you have it. Now, get to work and create your perfect pitch!
Did this help? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
P.S: I’m still working on the ‘dream life’ interview series, and will be unleashing later this month. Please stay tuned. ‘Dream life’ actually just rolled off my fingers, guess I’ll adopt that title…Lol 🙂
Thanks for reading! And don’t forget to share, sharing is caring!