Whether you’re looking for a job, run your own business, or want to find new – better paid and with more challenge – opportunities, you need to have a well-crafted elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch?  It is a short 30-second to 2 minute long preplanned statement that you use in response to the question “What do you do?”   It needs to answer the questions “Who I am? What I do? What I am looking for?”  Ideally, it also makes it clear why you are the best candidate.  You want to be able to deliver your pitch anywhere any time – at a networking event, at a job interview or an unexpected coffee meeting with potential clients/employers – without hesitation or shyness.

So, how to sum up all what you do and all your achievements into a brief statement?

There are 2 theories for drafting an effective elevator pitch.

First one encourages to write down a) the direction you’re pursuing, or what you’re looking for – new clients, new sales, new job, etc  then b) all your unique accomplishments, special skills, talents, experience and then to condense and edit that list further and further until you get to a statement similar to this: I am a lawyer with over 10 years of experience with international legal firms, with the focus on corporate social responsibility. I am looking for opportunities to practice and make more impact in corporate social responsibility. 

Second theory encourages you to start with a “hook”, ie a brief sentence that entices the listener’s curiosity, intrigues them and makes them ask “What do you mean?”  For instance, in response to the question “What do you do?”  I sometimes say: “I help people turn their hobby into a well-paying career”.  A client of mine who’s started her nutrition-related practice says “I help women feel and look great”.  A financial advisor might begin with “I help people sleep well at night”.   If you delivered your hook well and paused right after (very important!), your audience will always ask for more details.

Whichever method you choose make sure to:

avoid using the industry jargon – simplify and speak in accessible language;

the goal of an effective elevator pitch is to strike a conversation, to intrigue and spark an interest in your audience, not tell them your entire career story;

make sure your pitch mentions the benefits you or your service can deliver (eg to a potential employer, to new clients, etc) –  your pitch should answer the question “What is it in for them?”  Think in terms of serving, not selling.

practice, practice, practice – until your pitch sounds natural and not too pitchy. 🙂

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