In the unlikely event you didn’t already know, an elevator pitch is a short and concise summary of what you do. In case you were caught in an elevator with a potential investor/client/new boss… you have a captive audience for only 30 seconds and need to explain yourself – your worth – in that brief moment. What would you say?
If you don’t have an elevator pitch, you need to create one. If you have one, think about how you may need to fine tune it. Especially in this digital/social networking age, it’s important to have an accurate description of your business self. Think about the last time you were asked to provide a description of yourself for an online profile. What did you say? Did you put a lot of thought into it, or just blurt out the first thing that came to mind? Did it list your achievements or did it go into details about your personal life? Think about it – what are you trying to promote? Then gear your pitch toward that goal.
Steve Strauss at the Microsoft Small Business Center has a valuable online article on how to create your own elevator pitch. The five steps he lists are:
- Figure out what is unique about what you do. What sets you apart from others in your field?
- Make it exciting. If you’re not excited about what you do, how do you expect someone else to be? What drives you to do what you do every day?
- Keep it simple. It must be under 30 seconds so simplicity is key.
- Write it down. Then re-write it. Then re-write it again.
- Practice, then practice some more. Memorize it – really know it, and use it often.
Don’t be afraid to change it as your life and goals change. Because it defines you as a businessperson, it’s important to keep it updated. Is it still relevant? Can you improve on any of the language? Is there something missing that you’d like to add or something you think should be taken out?
Some questions to ask when formulating your own elevator pitch:
- Start with your name, then add your company name.
I’m Joe Smith with ABC Company
- How do you help people (clients)?
I (or “we”) help people with…
- Why do your clients love you?
Our clients appreciate the way we…
- What sets you apart from others in your field (your competitors)?
Unlike our competitors, ABC Company believes…
- What could you say that will call your audience to action, or cause them to ask you questions? What will make them continue to want to engage with you?
If you can give me some more time, perhaps have some coffee, I’d love to show you how we can help you with…
The more you use your elevator pitch, the more natural it will become for you. Don’t wait for people to ask you – offer it up to them. Voila – you have started a conversation!