How to Pull off the Perfect Elevator Pitch at Your Next Meeting
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These days, just about everyone is tossing around the humorous phrase ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’. And while it may seem dismissive when used in a professional context, it does reflect a truth about today’s career world. Most white collar work in the third millennium comes with a hectic schedule. The majority of professionals, middle management and upward, are bombarded with a torrent of information and communication attempts. From LinkedIn profiles to tweets to startup incubators to conferences, we’re all keeping busy with building our careers. Nobody has time anymore to listen to a long presentation, no matter how articulate and considerately thought out it may seem to you. Today’s alternative? The elevator pitch, alternatively known as the elevator speech. In today’s post, we’ll be analyzing this useful career building tool, explaining its definition and providing you with a few insightful pointers on how to further your professional evolution by employing it.
What is the Elevator Pitch?
It’s been called the elevator speech or statement, and its name is rather self-explanatory. It is a short and sweet way of explaining what a profession, organization, event, product or service can do, with a focus on its value proposition. In other words, any elevator pitch template that works must include a value added aspect for the pitched position or product at hand. What sets it apart from similar items in its class, category, or niche? What makes it special, worth the money and the effort, and why should your interlocutor care about it?
The name ‘elevator pitch’ obviously comes from a real life setting. If you can deliver your pitch convincingly enough in a very short time, usually between thirty seconds and two minutes, or just about as long as an elevator ride lasts, you’ve got them sold! The term’s coinage is credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso, during his time as a Vanity Fair editor. To get a better grasp of what this should look and sound like, imagine you accidentally meet an important player in your industry in the elevator. What could you tell them, in two minutes or less, to get them interested in your idea or your worth as an asset for their organization? If you manage to add value with that hypothetical conversation, chances are there will be room for a chat outside the elevator, with contacts and business cards exchanged, and even with plans for a potential business meeting.
You’ve probably heard evangelists, project managers, or salespeople employ this technique. However, its usefulness is not strictly relegated to successfully sealing a hard sale. It can come in handy in a wide range of settings, from accidental meetings with former clients, to getting a company CEO on board with your innovative project. It’s important to create a custom version of your pitch, which is both memorable and also adds value. Check out the elevator pitch template below and come up with your own version of it. Before you know it, you could be starting work on your dream event, job, project, or product.
How the Elevator Pitch can Help you Snag that Dream Job
Bear in mind that the below technique serves as a stand-in for tips for job interviews. It can work great in an interview setting, in which you are required to briefly present your skills, assets, and experience. By focusing on adding value, you are that much more likely to impress your interviewer interlocutor. To create your perfect elevator speech, follow the steps below:
Step #1: Determine what you want to achieve
What is the point of your pitch? Want to get hired at a great new job? Have a product or service idea that you want to present before a manager? Remember that the best elevator pitch examples are tailored to your audience and, inherently, to your end-goal. You wouldn’t use the same approach when pitching your skills to a current employee that you would when presenting them to a potential new one, right?
Step #2: Know how you want to be remembered
Your 30 second elevator speech should always start out with what you, as an individual or as a company representative, can do. Focus on your added value and understand that what you say at this point is most likely how you will be remembered. Get excited to sound exciting and don’t shy away from using hard data or citing efficiency statistics, for instance. Don’t just say ‘We are a company that develops mobile apps’. Instead, go with something along the lines of ‘We are a company that develops mobile gaming apps, aimed at teens and young people. Our market share has increased by 124.5 per cent over the past 12 months.’
Step #3: What’s your Unique Selling Proposition?
What is unique about your skills, your company, or your idea? What makes it stand out and be acknowledged as a market leader or pioneer? After your audience has gotten a grasp of what you do, they should also clearly understand what makes you unique. Building on the above example, you could add something like ‘Our approach is one of a kind, because we conduct extensive market surveys, in-depth interviews with consumers, and spend a lot of time troubleshooting and beta testing. It might prolong the process, but it ensures our first releases are usually roaring successes.’
Step #4: Engage!
After you’ve introduced yourself and explained what makes you uniquely yourself, make sure you’ve engaged with your audience or interlocutor. Ask an open-ended question and make sure you can answer it. For instance, ask something like ‘How could your company benefit from reaching an audience of millions of young people?’
Step#5: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
After you’ve gone through all the above steps, bring together your elevator speech. Write it down if you need to and start rehearsing it – but make sure to keep it sounding natural, otherwise you will immediately alienate your audience. Test it out in front of a real life audience (peers, friends, colleagues) and incorporate their feedback. Keep the pitch at around 30 seconds and no more than a minute. Do away with the superfluous detail. Rehearse it to the point it sounds completely natural, exciting and friendly, not aggressive and exhausted. Finally, mix it up a bit, to keep things, fresh, each time you get the chance to deliver it in a professional context. And don’t forget to bring along your business cards!