Crafting an effective elevator pitch

Do you freeze up when asked, “Tell me a little bit about yourself?” Your first instinct may be to say whatever comes to mind, which could turn into worrying about rambling on for too long. We’ve all been there!  

At interviews, conferences and other networking opportunities, you will need to be able to quickly convey key points about yourself, your background, and the work that you do, to someone you’ve just met.  Having a solid elevator pitch can help! 

An elevator pitch is a succinct and persuasive sales pitch—usually done in 30 seconds or less. Its purpose is not to sell yourself and your ideas, but to make other people want to know more about you and engage in further dialogue or collaboration. 

Follow the steps below to craft an elevator pitch that you can use the next time you meet someone new: 

Open with a relatable question.  

Make your pitch personal to the person with whom you are speaking by opening with a question relevant to him/her. You do this by directly or indirectly making him/her identify with the problem that you may solve. You can identify a relatable question by asking yourself: 

  • Who are you talking to? 

  • What do you want from him/her? 

  • What problem does he/she have that you may solve? 
     

Describe what you do.  

Keeping your audience in mind, you don’t need to describe everything that you do. Keep it short by providing your solution to the problem raised in your opening question.  
 

Speak to your value.  

Explain the outcome that your solution creates and the impact that it will have. Connect this to the value of what you do and how it will be beneficial in solving your audience’s problem.  
 

Highlight an achievement.  

Pick one achievement that showcases the value of your expertise in solving the problem. You can use a testimonial, a recent award you received, an award you’re in the running for, or an impact that you have made.  
 

Convey your passion.  

Add your enthusiasm and drive to what you say and how you say it. Express why you do what you do. This step is key in sparking curiosity and making people want to know more about you and engage in further conversation. 
 

Practice. 

Finally, practicing your elevator pitch allows you to recall it more easily in the moment and helps you to appear more articulate (no “ummms” needed to fill the air, here!).  Practice, practice, practice! 

Adapted from How to Create a Perfect Elevator Pitch Video Tutorial: LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com by Careercake (2018, July 20).

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