You Must Have An Elevator Pitch
(20 seconds to 2 min. of content, to excite and describe your business effectively or the dream job)
1. Clarify your job target.
As Yogi Berra famously said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
So when you begin putting an elevator pitch together, nail down the best way to describe your field and the type of job you’re pursuing. Until you can clearly explain the type of position you want, nobody can help you find it or hire you to do it.
2. Put it on paper
Write down everything you’d want a prospective employer to know about your skills, accomplishments and work experiences that are relevant to your target position. Then grab a red pen and mercilessly delete everything that’s not critical to your pitch.
Keep editing until you’ve got the speech down to a few key bullet points or sentences. Your goal is to interest the listener in learning more, not to tell your whole life story. So remove extraneous details that detract from your core message.
3. Format it
A good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?
(MORE: Job Interview Advice Older Women Don’t Want to Hear)
Here’s an example of how to begin a pitch that includes the essentials: “Hi. I am Jessica Hill. I am an accountant with 10 years experience in the insurance industry and I’m looking for opportunities in the Dallas area with both insurance and finance companies.”
That speech would take about 15 seconds. Jessica would then want to use her next 15 seconds to add details about her unique selling proposition, special skills and specific ways she could help a potential employer.
4. Tailor the pitch to them, not you.
It’s important to remember that the people listening to your speech will have their antennas tuned to WIFM (What’s in It for Me?) So be sure to focus your message on their needs.
For example, this introduction: “I am a human resources professional with 10 years experience working for consumer products companies.” The pitch would be more powerful if you said, “I am a human resources professional with a strong track record in helping to identify and recruit top-level talent into management.”
Using benefit-focused terminology will help convince an interviewer that you have the experience, savvy and skills to get the job done at his or her business.
5. Eliminate industry jargon.
You need to make your pitch easy for anyone to understand, so avoid using acronyms and tech-speak that the average person or job interviewer might not understand.
The last thing you want to do is make your listener feel stupid or uninformed.
6. Read your pitch out loud.
As Fast Company’s Deborah Grayson Riegel recently pointed out in her article “The Problem With Your Elevator Pitch and How to Fix It,” writing is more formal and structured than speaking. If you’re not careful, your elevator pitch can come off sounding more like an infomercial than a conversation.
The primary reason why people want to do business--because they connect with you. Not with your pitch, but with you.
Here Are 5 Tips To Sound Like A Real Person:
Don’t speak the way you write. “I help individuals, couples, and families make sound financial plans so that they don’t outlive their money” may read well on a website, but doesn’t sound the way people really talk. When speaking, you might start with, “I’m a financial planner, and I make sure my clients don’t outlive their money.” Much more compelling, genuine and even fun.
Utilize common vernacular (aka, use the simplest language possible). Your organization’s mission statement may talk about serving “the growing population of at-risk adolescents” but most people would say “kids who are at risk” in regular conversation. So say that.
Turn your pitch into a question. If you’re a professional organizer, ask “You know that pile of papers you’ve got somewhere in your house that you’ve been meaning to get through? As a professional organizer, I help people finally get through it.”
Practice saying your pitch out loud, with feedback. Rehearse it until it sounds completely unrehearsed (ironic, but important), and then get feedback on how “real” you sound rather than how “polished” you come across.
Be willing to forgo your pitch entirely. If you’re already making a warm connection with someone and they ask you what you do, don’t risk bringing a cold pitch into the conversation. Just say what you do--and more importantly, find out what the other person does and show genuine curiosity about them. Watch closely and listen deeply and learn to respond with care and understanding. Go Forth!
REHEARSE 50-100 Times
Rehearse your pitch out loud – 50-100 times – in front of a mirror or to a mentor, friends and family. You want to make sure you include every important point and that your pitch is on time. That said, don’t try to memorize your pitch verbatim – you want it to sound natural.
When the conversation has ended, make sure your listener has your contact information. An eye-catching business card can serve as an effective reminder of what your business offers long after you’ve parted ways.
Thanks for Visiting. . . Peace to you!
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