Do you have yours ready?
Whether you are at a job interview, at a networking event, at your friend’s barbecue or literally in an elevator — once you state your name, you need to be able to explain who you are, what you do and how you can add value — clearly and quickly.
A beautifully tuned elevator pitch is a must-have in the job seeker’s arsenal and vital to networking success. Think of it as your verbal cover letter. It can open more doors and eventually land you the job you desire.
Pitch in four steps
Here are four steps to keep in mind when crafting your speech:
- Express your strengths as you define who you are. Keep it short.
- Elucidate what you do. This is when you reveal the benefits that you bring.
- Explain what sets you apart. Demonstrate some personality to stand out.
- Ensure a definite call to action. This is the final step and it should lead the listener to want to set up another meeting or further the relationship.
Now comes time to sit down and write it out. To create your speech, you should:
- Write down all that comes to mind. Try writing in a bullet points’ format or as short tweets. Now cut the jargon and unnecessary words and create crisp, powerful sentences. Finally, connect the phrases to each other so your pitch flows smoothly.
- Highlight key points and a unique point of differentiation. Check if you have really answered the key WIFM (what’s in it for me?) question of your listener. Insert a figure or a quote or a memorable phrase that will leave them wanting more.
- Practise a lot. Then practise a few more times. It is important to have your speech written down, memorized and practised. The more you speak it, the easier and more natural it will get. Rehearse with someone or in front of a mirror. The important thing is to practise it out loud.
- Focus on the delivery. Breathe, smile, relax and look your target in the eye. The more natural your delivery, the greater your chance of success. Words change perceptions. Instead of a generic statement like “I have great accountability skills,” perhaps you could say something like “Accountability is very important to me.”
Sample elevator speech
Here is an example of a good elevator pitch that follows the above steps.
“Hi. Nice to meet you. My name is Miriam Fernandez. I am a human resources specialist with 10 years’ experience in diverse industries and markets.”
Those three lines would take about 10 to 15 seconds. She can then use her next 15 seconds to add details about her skills, unique value proposition and specific ways she could help a potential employer. This is her chance to tailor her pitch to focus on their needs and deliver benefits they can visualize.
“I have successfully worked with clients of all sizes from small startups to Fortune 500 organizations. Clients have acknowledged my expertise in consistently helping them identify and recruit top-level talent into their companies. It would be my pleasure to get in touch with you soon.”
At this point, she can exchange cards and ensure her card features either her LinkedIn URL or a QR Code that will take the target to her online profile, where her summary and testimonials corroborate what she just said.
Give it a try
Keep in mind that when you meet someone for the first time, you have a blank canvas and you can paint any picture you want. But once it is painted, it stays forever. You now have 30 seconds to deliver a confident, upbeat message and nail it with confidence.
A good pitch takes planning and practice to deliver quickly and on the spot. Get started, have fun, believe in yourself and speak with pride. And soon, you may find yourself riding an elevator going in to your new job!