Most people are overloaded with information. Emails, meetings and unplanned interruptions fill up their day. When you meet them at a networking event, at a seminar or at a party they might be busy and distracted by their own priorities, looking around the room to make a strategic connection with somebody else, and the last thing you want is for them to forget you. An elevator pitch is a powerful tool to make sure you can’t be missed.

What is an elevator pitch?

Your elevator pitch is something that can make you compelling, memorable and encapsulates what you have to share with people. It intrigues, inspires or interests and generates the response: “Tell me more!”

If you’re job seeking or building a network of collaborators, you can use one as a powerful short cut to describe what your X factor is as a person. Just think, you had a 30 second chance meeting in an elevator with a new business contact, what could you say to them to motivate them to find out more about you?

Instead of trying to talk really fast explaining your life story or slamming them with all the reasons you’re their guy, you can communicate your value in a format that is short, sweet and enjoyable to receive. Your elevator pitch may be similar to what you might say on your Linkedin Summary, but because you’re using it in a conversation it’s designed to be much snappier.

Step One:

First, decide the purpose of the pitch. If you’re wanting to get a job interview, be clear of your unique value and who you’re talking to. On a piece of paper, list and brainstorm:

  • What problems am I good at solving?

  • What are my special strengths?

  • What is the ultimate outcome of what I do?

  • What is my target audience and what do they care about?

Step Two:

Devise a creative or compelling one sentence statement about what you do.

I _________ (Do what? help/create/teach/develop/find/make/turn) __________________(What audience?) __________________________ (Solve what problem? Ultimate benefit, specific impact or desired outcome?)

“What do you do?” – Examples:

  • Data Analyst: “I help businesses become best friends with their customers.”
  • Real Estate Agent: “I help first home buyers live in their dream homes”
  • Nutritionist or Health professional: “I help people fall in love with themselves again.”
  • Digital Marketer: “I teach brands to speak human on the internet”
  • Project Manager: “I hold the secret to eliminating stress from people’s lives”

If they say “Tell me more…”

You can also share an additional benefit and a call to action asking for a potential next step:

People who work with me say _________________________(special strength) and have benefited from ______________ (list one benefit).

I am currently looking for introductions to _______________________(What specific types of organisations, industry or qualities are you looking to talk to? i.e. Social good businesses who care about innovation OR Teams that need technical problem solvers)

In your elevator pitch, this is a no jargon zone. In my Speed Networking events I run I often see people’s eyes glaze over when their new connection talks about what they do for a living. Use simple language so that no matter what industry they are in, your elevator pitch is easy to understand.

The elevator pitch is the beginning of a conversation, and if you can capture their interest at the start, you’ll be invited to continue in a more in depth conversation in more detail.