One of the best networking strategies to make a quick connection with someone is the “elevator pitch” – a short, to-the-point introduction about your business, skills or interests. Following some tips for the best elevator pitch will help your pitch pack a punch.
The “elevator pitch” term comes from a scenario of meeting someone important in an elevator and you have only about 30 seconds to a minute – the average time of an elevator ride – to make an impression and communicate your brand to a potential client or employer.
“When you only have a few minutes of someone’s time, having a well-prepared, elevator pitch can make those few minutes count,” says the University of Denver’s career services. “A successful pitch is where the other person relaxes and says, ‘Interesting. Tell me more.’”
Condensing business goals, life skills or education in 60 seconds or less is not easy. The University of Denver offers these tips for the best elevator pitch:
- Keep it Simple – Remember, the elevator pitch is a brief summary of who you are, what you or your business can do and why it matters to the potential client or employer. Keep these points in mind when crafting your pitch.
- Words Matter – Use strong, action-packed words and speak in a confident, personable tone.
- Be Relevant – List your accomplishments or those of your business that are both relevant and compelling to your contact. It’s not about you – it’s about what you can do for your contact.
- Practice Makes Perfect – Practice your pitch, but don’t memorize it word for word. You want to sound natural and not rehearsed.
- Make a Connection – End your pitch with a question to your audience to draw them into the conversation.
If you’re looking for a job, Forbes recommends that you clearly describe the field you are interested in, your skills and how you would benefit your potential employer’s business. Forbes says that a good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?
Remember to tailor your elevator pitch to your audience, not you. While the people are listening to your pitch, they’re asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” So, be sure you are focused on how you would benefit them.
This example from Forbes demonstrates a typical pitch from a job seeker to a potential employer: “I am a human resources professional with 10 years’ experience working for consumer products companies.”
Forbes says that the pitch would be more powerful if the person said, “I am a human resources professional with a strong track record in helping to identify and recruit top-level talent into management.”
Elevators pitches can be used as a follow up phone call, at a career fair or at a networking event. The pitches don’t always have to be verbal – they can be used in an email introduction.
Follow these tips for the best elevator pitch and keep ahead of the pack at your next networking or career fair event. Or, even a chance meeting in an elevator.