Every marketing, branding or sales methodology incorporates some form of the classic Elevator Pitch – that 30 second to 2 minute communication that concentrates the listener on essential points.

Performed effectively, the Elevator Pitch grabs the listener’s interest and establishes a starting position for further discovery and discussion. It’s the hook.

Your professional and career growth deserves the same focus and dedication as any product or company. To successfully promote yourself in quick opportunities you need a clear, memorable Elevator Pitch.

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”

Henry Ford knew about preparation.  He recognized that in order to build a well-constructed product, you must first gather the materials and perfect the tools needed in its assembly.  Consider this approach with your own personal Elevator Pitch.

Gather the Materials

An effectual Elevator Pitch consists of the short delivery of core messages.  What are yours?  Think about your accomplishments, abilities and goals.  Write them down.  Your Elevator Pitch shouldn’t just reside in your mind – make it a living, tangible document that you can review, edit and perfect.

Consider the following elements.

  • Key Experience – Identify the important aspects of your professional experiences and formulate them into  a succinct and focused few sentences.  Where have you worked and what elemental experience do you bring to the table?
  • Impact – How have you reduced costs, improved efficiencies, generated leads, lowered waste, streamlined processes, increased revenue?  Be specific.   Show that you can both recognize business pains AND solve them.  Communicate precise solutions and achievements that you have delivered.
  • Leadership – What skills, methods, capabilities make you a valuable organizational leader?  The Big Mac has “special sauce” and KFC has 11 herbs and spices.  What do you bring to an organization that is unique and powerful?  Spell it out into words.
  • Goals – Know what you want and articulate it.  I’m not talking about a corner office or casual Fridays.  Think “big picture”.   Are you seeking a company that has an international presence and global growth opportunities?  Do you dream of the scrappy start-up, energized by the notion of risk and reward?   Set the tone of what you want, but don’t limit yourself.  The Elevator Pitch is the time to create opportunity for exploration.  Don’t hit the “close doors” button too soon.

Perfect the Tools.  
It’s not enough to compose your Elevator Pitch.  When presented with an opportunity, you won’t be reaching in your pocket for notes or passing along your LinkedIn profile.  You need to be able to deliver your pitch with assuredness, openness and conviction… and to do it on the spot.

Practice out loud – in front of the mirror, in the car, before a trusted colleague or friend.  An actor doesn’t step on stage without rehearsing his lines, and neither should you.   Preparing aloud gives you the chance to ensure that it’s convincing.

Did you write a word or phrase that just doesn’t roll off your tongue? Change it.

Do you stumble on your points or confuse the listener?  Clarify it.

Does your speech reflect your current role or present goals? Revisit it.

Segment your pitch and be able to adapt it to the situation at hand.  If you enter the theoretical elevator in the lobby and your target presses the 5th floor, then you have a quick 30 seconds and you’d better deliver a focused and succinct message.  If the doors close and you’re headed from the lobby to the 40th floor, you have additional time to expand and deliver your message.  Being able to tailor your pitch to the realities of the situation helps ensure that you communicate without hesitation or regret.

An effective and powerful Elevator Pitch doesn’t just appear.  You must consider it thoughtfully, develop it intentionally and practice it regularly.  Make it compelling, and it can open doors and help grease the wheels of new opportunity.