Why you should have your elevator pitch straightened out

‘’Hi, how are you?’’ ‘’I’m great thanks, how about you?’’ ‘’You know, same old same old… quite busy actually. Hey, what I was wondering about, what is it that you do exactly?’’

There it is, the opportunity to short and sweet talk about who you are, what you do or anything else you’d like the person asking to know. And telling it in a way that triggers the other to want to hear more about you. In short, the perfect opportunity to blow them away with your elevator pitch.

Elevator Pitch? 

Most people think of salesmen when it comes to the concept of the ‘Elevator pitch’. Which is true. Partly. Elevator pitching originates from the USA in a time when there were no mobile phones or the World Wide Web.

Imagine this: You’re having a mind-blowing idea. How do you get investors to invest money in your brilliant idea? In the big city, an army of people daily confronted investors in the elevator on their way to work, using the opportunity to pitch their story or idea to them short and sweet.

If they did well, the salesmen would have told them they wanted to know more about them before the elevator had reached its destination and the salesmen wandered off to their offices.

Hence: the elevator pitch.

These days, such an elevator pitch is useful for far more people than just salesmen. The elevator pitch is a handy concept you could always use in any given situation if you wish to present yourself well, and to make someone else interested in you. Whether you’re pitching at a networking event, a job application, or if you just want to have your story straight when some asks again ‘’what it is that you do, actually?’’

The thing is, you can never know when the opportunity arises to pitch. Not only could it happen at work or during a network event, but also at school, at the local garden party or during a soccer match. The question is: Will you be able to sell yourself right there and then, short and sweet?

How do I pitch myself?  

An elevator pitch lasts for about 30 to 120 seconds. In 30 seconds, you can fit in about 80 words. Don't get trapped into believing you have to tell as much as possible in as little time as possible. Several factors are at play when it comes to developed your elevator pitch:

  • Body language. Eye contact, attitude and facial expressions play a big part in an elevator pitch
  • The essence of your story. What is it that you wish to tell and why is this interesting for someone else to hear? What is in it for them?
  • The way you tell the story. Intonation, structure and choice of words are of great importance as well.

Preparation and practice are key. So get to work! And do you consider it a little scary to perform when the spotlight is on you? Well, don't worry, you’re not the only one. Maybe an extra training in ‘Presenting with ease’ might not be a bad idea!


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