01 Jun The Elevator Pitch – Top Tips
In last month’s blog we covered tips on how best to network (How to Network – 7 Practical Tips) and maybe now you feel ready to attend that networking event you’ve been avoiding for the past 6 months!
Instead of looking forward to it, you’re now worrying about what you’re going to say to people! Will they want to listen? Will they be interested in what you’ve got to say? Will they like you?
To help answer these questions, you need an ‘Elevator Pitch’!
What’s an Elevator Pitch and how will it help you plan what you want to say to people?
Well, an Elevator Pitch is a brief summary which is used to quickly and simply define a person, product or service, organisation or event. Its name, "Elevator Pitch", is based on the idea that it’s possible to deliver this summary in the time that it takes to ride a few floors in a lift (or Elevator if you’re in the US!). In other words, you have about 1 minute to get your message across. The point of having an Elevator Pitch is to make a positive impression and to get the other person interested enough to continue the conversation, either there and then or at a later date.
Picture the scene…. you’re in a lift, going up 6 floors, and the door opens before you reach your destination. In to the lift steps someone that you’ve been desperate to meet, for example the CEO of the organisation that you’re very keen to work for. Now’s your chance to say something meaningful and interesting. Your mind goes blank and you find yourself only able to make small talk (probably about the weather!). Within the blink of an eye, the lift arrives at your floor and out you go, missing the opportunity to make a positive, memorable, impression on the person that you had as a captive audience for a minute or so! If only what you’d said had been interesting and captivating, then maybe the conversation might have continued after the ride in the lift and contact details may have been exchanged.
Don’t let this happen to you; be prepared for that unexpected moment and have your Elevator Pitch ready to be recalled at any moment, be it at a planned, networking, event or at an unexpected, opportune moment.
In this blog I’m going to share some tips that will help you to plan and craft your Elevator Pitch so that people leave wanting to know more and to continue the conversation with you.
- Know what you want to achieve from the pitch
In other words, Begin with the End in Mind (as the late, great, Stephen Covey said in his 2nd Habit of Highly Effective People). So, what is your objective? What do you want people to do as a result of your pitch? Do you want the chance to talk further with them or perhaps simply that they remember you?
- Decide how you want people to remember you after they walk away
Remember the old adage that people buy from people. What is it about you that will stand out in someone’s memory? What will attract their interest? You might want them to remember you as an authority in a particular area or as an impressive, enthusiastic, person looking for new opportunities.
- Have a succinct opener with a hook
Of course, you could start with who you are and what you do! However, these details, whilst important, may not stick in the other person’s memory as you haven’t as yet, given them a reason to remember! You need to create a hook as your opener.
By this, I mean give the person a reason to carry on listening to the rest of your pitch. From the very first moment, grab their attention, get them to prick up their ears and be curious to know more! For example, you may have some interesting statistics to share, or an insight into current market trends.
- Get to the point
Remember, you may only have one minute to get your message across so be clear about what that message is and just say it.
- End with a punchy statement or question
As you plan the end of your message, ask yourself, again, ‘What do I want people to do or remember?’. Leave them interested and wanting to know more so that there is a reason to continue the conversation beyond your Elevator Pitch. You might offer to speak with them again, pose a question to generate further discussion or simply ask if you can contact them.
- Commit it to memory
Be ready to deliver your Elevator Pitch whenever the opportunity arises, so learn it! Repeat it until it trips off the tongue and is there, front of brain, ready to interest and excite whoever your audience might be.
By planning and crafting your Elevator Pitch, as well as committing it to memory, you will be ready to deliver it at the drop of a hat, whether it be at a planned event or during that chance meeting in a lift!
Following these steps will give you confidence in what you have to say to get others talking with, and about, you for all the right reasons.
A previous blog – The Pitch: how to be bright, be brief and be gone looks at how to pitch influentially and succinctly.
Posted by Caroline Lewis