In case you haven’t heard of an elevator pitch, they are short speeches that you use to sell yourself to a prospective employer.
They get the name ‘elevator pitch’ because they are meant to take no longer than a short ride in an elevator to deliver.
In a few seconds you should be able to let someone know who you are, what you do and what value you could bring to them.
It is a lot to squeeze into a short space of time but an effective elevator pitch can make the difference between a hire and a fire for job seekers.
So it makes sense to spend some time looking at elevator pitch examples and honing your pitch to perfection. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
A compelling elevator pitch about yourself should include the following key points:
1. Who You Are & What You Do
The whole point of an elevator pitch is to sell yourself.
You therefore need to make sure that your statement introduces you both succinctly and thoroughly.
The introduction should cover not only your name but also what you do.
It can be tempting to go into a lot of detail here but, whether you are in an interview or a networking situation, you should have later opportunities to expand on your opening statement…as long as it makes enough of an impact to whet the appetite of the listener.
For this reason, avoid going into a detailed life history of your school and university successes, or a blow-by-blow breakdown of your career to date. You will have lost the interest of the audience in the first few seconds.
Instead say just enough to make them want to hear more.
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When mentioning your job, avoid using industry jargon, even when you are talking to other people from the same industry. Make your statement as easy to understand as possible.
This section of your elevator pitch should take no more than 10-15 seconds.
Here are a couple of examples that are quick, to the point, and are worded in a way to generate interested:
The person delivering the elevator pitch is a project management consultant.
“You know how big projects often run over budget and are delivered late? Well I offer services to stop those things happening, and make sure projects deliver as they’re intended to.”
The person delivering this elevator pitch works in a bank, making sure that customers provide correct forms of identification before doing business with them.
“I make sure that criminals are not able to launder money through our bank, and prevent the funding of terrorism.”
In both examples, simply by being creative in the description of what they do, the person delivering the elevator pitch is sure to generate the interest of the listener.
2. What You Are Looking For
A good elevator pitch moves on from the crucial ‘who you are & what you do’ to the ‘what you are looking for’.
This section of the pitch will vary depending on the context in which you are using it.
If you are in a job interview you have to define your goals so that the interviewer will have an idea of how you match their available opportunities or would integrate into their team.
If you are using the pitch at a networking event you would phrase it slightly differently as it is not the done thing to ask for a job or solicit a client right off the bat!
This section of the pitch should take no more than 5-10 seconds.
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3. Define a Problem…and a Solution
Now that your listeners know who you are you should use your pitch to highlight a problem that is common in your industry.
“Maintaining productivity when you have a build-up of rust deposits in the pipes can be a challenge”.
This shows that you are familiar with their industry and may have something to offer them. Your pitch should then go on to show how you can solve the problem efficiently and effectively. This establishes your unique selling point to them and underscores the value you will bring to their team.
This section of the pitch should take no more than 20-25 seconds.
The person you are speaking to should by now be interested and looking forward to finding out more about you and will probably start asking some targeted questions.
Your elevator pitch has done its job!
Putting your Elevator Pitch Together
The key to a successful elevator pitch is planning.
Even the most accomplished speaker would be pushed to deliver the perfect pitch with no prior preparation. Sit down and write your elevator pitch, using the structure above.
You will most likely need to work through a number of drafts until you have a version that you’re happy with.
Then practice as much as you can; in front of a mirror, in front of friends or in the shower. You should aim to be able to deliver your elevator pitch easily and effectively in just about any situation.
Make sure that you practice using variations of tone and expression – you don’t want to just recite it or it will sound as though you are chanting times tables!
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You should also aim to have a few different versions, each with a slight variation for use in different circumstances – one for interviews, and one for less formal, networking situations.
You could also work on some variations that take different amounts of time to deliver, as some situations may call for a slightly longer pitch, whereas others will need you to get your point across in 20 seconds or less.
When drafting your pitch always remember to include the three key points listed above, in that order, and you are well on your way to a perfect elevator pitch.
Sometimes, life changing opportunities come our way but we miss them because we are not prepared to take them.
Spending some time to perfect your elevator pitch means you will be much better prepared to seize the next opportunity that comes your way.