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An impressive elevator pitch can make or mar your first impression. Here’s everything you need to make an excellent elevator pitch!
What if you got on an elevator and you found yourself travelling with Bill Gates. Say 16 floors to go and 40 seconds of time with the tech giant! How would you make use of these precious seconds?
You take your seat on a plane. The empty seat next to yours is taken by Narayan Murthy. He politely smiles at you and asks what do you do? The next 10-20 seconds are critical to catching his attention. What will you say?
Designations, in such situations, is a waste of time and opportunity. You need something more creative and interesting.
Come to think of it, the number of networking events we go to and meet similar-sounding professionals, it’s easy to lose them in a blur. Not many people stand out.
So creating an elevator pitch for yourself isn’t just for times you run into celebrities inside elevators! It’s worth your time and effort to make yourself memorable and unique even for ordinary mortals!
This post has a step-by-step approach to building an effective elevator pitch for yourself.
An elevator pitch is a 30-60 second clear speech to convince someone about a product or company. It is named thus since it should be short enough for you to explain it to someone on an elevator ride.
Basically, it is a “10-75 word you tagline”
Stephynie Malik, entrepreneur and a Forbes Council Member has summed up the elevator pitch in these words, “They’re brief, they’re targeted and they highlight the value I can add or explain “What’s in it for you?” to gain the recipient’s attention and interest.”
What comes up from this definition is:
Brief: Brevity is key – It should be a maximum of 60 seconds or 75 words. But clarity is king. It’s not an effective pitch if people don’t understand what you do.
Targeted: Begin with the end in mind. You can’t be doing something for everybody.
Value add words: These words are the answer to what your target audience is listening for
How do you know you get your elevator pitch right? If you get relevant questions about your work in response, your job is done. Just so we are clear – what is not an elevator pitch:
Your designation is not your elevator pitch. And your elevator pitch is not a sales pitch
An elevator pitch can be helpful in a lot of ways. It helps you stand out in the crowd.
In general, the elevator pitch:
1. Creates intrigue: Apart from telling people what you do, an elevator pitch also creates intrigue. This is what makes you memorable too
Serves as a differentiator: As I said, when everyone else sounds similar to each other, an interesting pitch is a great differentiator. It helps you stick in the memory of people for being such a breath of fresh air.
5. Catches attention: That’s all we are trying to do in a crowded room, right? While people make the rounds of introducing themselves, catching their attention is a great achievement in itself
6. Gets relevant follow up questions: The resulting conversation that you expect has to be along these lines – centred around what you just said in your pitch. Keep reading to know how to produce this effect!
Some popular elevator pitches that border on tag lines are:
UBER: The car-hailing app
SNAPCHAT: People, let’s have fun together
PINTEREST: The digital scrapbook service for all your need
Examples of a bad elevator pitch:
I help people make money. It’s short but what people? And how do you help them make money?
I provide solutions for small business owners. Again, it’s short and says who it is for. But what are the solutions and how do you do it?
It’s not about you but about what your target audience needs
The simplest approach could be – Problem – Solution.
Also think of your value proposition, your target audience and the next steps to do business with you.
Or did they react in unexpected ways? Maybe they were blank about what exactly you do. Did they have to give you confused looks? Was you value proposition clear to them? Get feedback and continue editing your draft ruthlessly.
In some cases, their questions might give a new approach to re-write the whole thing so that it makes better sense. Don’t hesitate to do that if it helps you craft a better pitch.
These templates are just to make your job easier. You may refine your pitch starting from here. They will ensure that you include all the elements.
My name is __________ and I help (your ideal client) and help them (reach a goal) by ______ (my services)
If I plug in my variables here, it’ll be something like:
My name is Suman and I help corporates and individuals reach their skill goals through customised training programs.
You can also start with the target audience
(target audience) ________ pay me to ___________ (what you do) to reach ___________ (goal)
After you plug in the variables, say for a virtual assistant, you get:
Entrepreneurs pay me to keep their paperwork streamlined for smooth functioning of their business
Another example for, say a business coach could be,
Small businesses pay me to increase their ROI through the action points I guide them through in my one on one sessions
The above is a sort of mix of the 2 templates. As I said, it isn’t a rule cast in stone. You can mix and match it come up with something unique as long as you stick to the basics that a pitch should have.
An elevator pitch – as mechanical as the process of crafting seems to be – has to be delivered as effortlessly.
It shouldn’t be mechanical. If you are thinking about the variables in your head, you will sound like you are reciting it. And that is going to be counter productive.
Make it more human and natural. It should just roll off your tongue. After all, you are talking about what you do and hopefully are passionate about it! You sound enthusiastic about what you do so that it encourages others to mirror that emotion too.
Here are a few tips to get right:
The elevator pitch is the beginning. It is meant to pique interest and generate a conversation from there.
So what next?
Always have a few follow-ups to support your pitch and respond to expected questions.
Stats: We recently helped a client increase the ROI by 10% using our google ad strategies
Stories: A client of mine had problems streamlining his business. He usually fell short of manpower. I helped him put together an action plan and outsource work virtually.
Call to action: You could also follow it up with the next step – maybe email a brochure, fix a meet over coffee or ask them how they’d like to explore your services.
Clients you’ve worked for: You could mention industries that you cater to and if it’s okay mention a few prestigious clients so that people get a better idea of what you do.
Here are some additional tips that you might find useful:
I have covered all the steps that can help you create a great elevator pitch. It might seem hard and daunting at first. The more times you do this – and refine as you go along, the more it’s going to feel like second nature to you.
An impressive elevator pitch can make or mar your first impression. Being able to confidently and succinctly tells people what you do and you can’t beat that!
What’s your elevator pitch?
Picture credits: Micheal Jung for Getty Images via Canva
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