What Is An Elevator Pitch And Why Do You Need One

Every professional–whether you own your own business, work for another company, or seeking new employment–should have an elevator pitch handy in case an opportunity comes up. But what is an elevator pitch? And why is it so important?

Picture this:

You’ve just been introduced to a potential client or contact, and they ask what it is that you do. You don’t want to stumble over your words, trying to describe your job. Nor do you want to ramble on and on as your listener becomes increasingly disengaged. If you’re unprepared with your answer, you risk forgetting important information or even worse, making a bad impression.

A good elevator pitch (which, interestingly enough, rarely takes place in an elevator) should do several things at once: explain who you are and leave a positive impression on your listeners’ minds. And it should do both things engagingly and concisely. Remember, an elevator pitch is so named because it shouldn’t last any longer than the time it takes to ride an elevator. Take 30 seconds as a good rule of thumb. Any longer and you risk losing people’s attention (remember, human attention spans are best at processing brief chunks of information) and any shorter you won’t be able to fit in all you need to say. The goal isn’t necessarily to get a new client to sign with you on the spot; it’s to make a lasting impression so you’ll come to mind when your services are needed, even months from now.

Elevator pitches aren’t just helpful for those who need to attract new clients. People on the job hunt should develop pitches describing their experience and the positions they’re seeking. Even those in stable careers should have pitches to use when networking with colleagues and other professionals. You never know what sorts of opportunities or connections you might need down the line.

So how do you craft a good pitch? Start off by writing down everything you wish to convey: your talents, your experience, the services you offer. Begin whittling that down, cutting away anything that veers from your central message. When you feel good about what you have written, practice it aloud then practice again. And then test your pitch out on everyone you know. Ask friends and family for feedback. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel when delivering it in front of a stranger–and the less likely you’ll sound robotic or stumble.

Remember, you want to appear engaging, so smile and modulate your voice (no one wants to listen to a monotone!). As you become more comfortable, you can even develop multiple pitches that emphasize different skills or services. And don’t forget the finishing touch! Always keep business cards handy so people will know how to contact you when they need your services in the future.

Still lost or unsure of how to get started? I specialize in coaching businesses and individuals. I can guide you through the process of crafting the perfect elevator pitch, using my extensive business experience to give you personalized tips and feedback. Feel free to Contact me here.