make that “elevator pitch” work for you

08/04/2009

by anne lueneburger

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Last week I met a client in his office in the Metlife building in New York’s Midtown district. After the meeting I got into the elevator on the 47th floor and a sophisticated looking female in a pin-striped suit got in with me on our descent. We smiled at each other and she asked what I do. This was one of the moments I was glad I had it prepared: the “elevator pitch”.  In less than 30 seconds I let her know about my passion to facilitate change and help individuals reach their goals.  As an entrepreneur I am acutely aware of how crucial it can be to effectively communicate in a very short time span what value I have to offer. You never know when an opportunity comes knocking.

Here are some key elements of a compelling “Elevator Pitch”:

Succinct. Aim for a maximum of 60 seconds.

Straightforward. Regardless of how sophisticated your target audience is, the shortness of the message necessitates that you make it as clear and easy to understand as possible.

Compelling. Use words that are powerful and strong: ‘leadership’, ‘vision’, ‘value’.

Memorable. Many of us are visual – integrate words that stimulate a visual image in your listeners mind, making your message memorable. Or consider telling a brief story.

Customized. If you have target audiences that are significantly different, develop a unique pitch for each.

Offers a value. “What is in it for the listener?” Create interest with a word or phrase that is bound to be striking and make them want to hear more.

Outcome Driven. What do you look to accomplish? Do you hope to get them to ask for your resume, to speak more or get a referral? The clearer you are about what results you want, the more likely are you to get your desired message across.

Having your elevator pitch ready will come in handy in a number of situations, be it at networking events if you are looking for a job, if you are in sales or business development or also in social gatherings where you can confidently sum up what it is that you do.

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