THE ELEVATOR PITCH–Is Yours Working?
Your brand [Elevator Pitch] is the promise you make to a prospective employer. Shivonne Byrne, Microsoft Branding Executive.
Do people respond to it with questions about your work, your success or processes? Do they want to learn more? Do they invite you to talk about your credentials? Do they offer to introduce you to others? Do they show interest so you can invite them to meet at a future date? Do they ask for your business card?
Simply stated, the Elevator Pitch is a powerful tool to gain the attention of a person who will offer leads, an opportunity and introductions to people who can provide them. The whole idea of the elevator pitch is to communicate very quickly why they want to learn more.
The tactic you use is to relate what you do to what they do. Understand your client. If, for example, you are talking to a financial person and you are an IT professional, you probably don’t want to stress the latest technologies you implemented in record time. You do want to stress how what you did affected the bottom line or the impact your work had on the stock or upcoming IPO.
Critical to this conversation is your own understanding of what you do.
- What makes you unique and why anyone would care?
- Your pitch must be clear, succinct and interesting.
Your pitch becomes the basis for your resume and all your outreach. It is the fulcrum of all your communications and the trigger that creates conversations, generates interviews and signals to contacts why they want to help you.
This is your opportunity to convey your passion for what you do and the importance of the outcomes. Need more reasons to create a great Elevator pitch? Think about all those social networking events where you just didn’t know how to start a conversation, or worse, stammered when someone asked, “what do you do?” Your elevator pitch at the ready, you can respond with confidence.
An article worth reading: Good Advice for an Elevator Pitch. For a tutorial on elevator pitches download Elevator Pitch Essentials from Chris O’leary. His guide is free and endorsed by Guy Kawasaki. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not suggest you should purchase my book, Job Search Debugged, to get the full range of elevator pitch uses.
OK, that’s the theory of the Elevator pitch, here’s reality. In all my years in recruiting and coaching I’ve rarely found anyone who has their pitch down cold. It is difficult to see our own image. Often, the pitch is lukewarm and the words just stumble out because the job seeker isn’t comfortable with it. Or worse, it sounds canned and doesn’t change with the audience.
Tip: Say your elevator pitch to a twelve year old. If they can tell you what you do, you have a good pitch. If not, keep working until yours is clear and simple. Crafting your pitch isn’t the time to show you are the smartest person in the room; it is the time to say my accomplishments are important and map to your needs.