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The Elevator Pitch

You ride the subway, grab a coffee, and get to the office. It’s your typical Monday morning—until, bam! You step in the elevator and find yourself face-to-face with the CEO of your dream company or the client you’ve been dying to land.

She smiles and says, “Hi. What do you do?” Scary? Absolutely. But it could happen to you tomorrow and you’ll want to be prepared. Here are a few things that could help :

  • Always be Ready. Lol, Duh, but it is the most important step. You never know when an opportunity will pop up, which is why it’s essential to have an elevator pitch at your disposal. So tomorrow while travelling to work, or working at home, or relaxing, put those headphones out of your ears and into your pocket and think about your things to add to your pitch.
  • Ease into it. If it’s someone you know, acknowledge how you know each other. If it’s someone you’ve never met, you can still acknowledge what you have in common. Find common things like the weather, the AC in the building being too cold, common building issues, they are holding the same brand of coffee everyday, learn about it maybe??? I don’t know but find something.
  • Focus on the future. Your pitch shouldn’t be a laundry list of achievements or your life story..oh no no no no. Instead talk about what you are working on or something you’re going to be doing. Talk as if its your company and you are a 200% accountable and passionate about it.
  • Keep it short. Aim for a 45 second pitch. Yes, stop whining and listen. Practice in front of a mirror with a stop watch and videotape yourself. Watch the clip and take notes. See if something doesn’t make sense or if yours talking a mile a minute.
  • Be approachable. Make eye contact and keep your arms uncrossed so you’re open to the person in front of you. Be close, but maintain some distance so you’re not encroaching on the person’s space.
  • Ask questions. Turn on the conversation back to the other person. At a minimum you should know enough that you can keep in touch with them. Like ask them what they are working on these days.
  • Exchange Contact info. Basic!! whether it’s for a date or business. A big pet peeve in networking is when people are too presumptuous. The elevator pitch is an introduction, not a close. Its only pursue is to start a relationship. You want connect with the person and plant the seed for future connect. That’s it.

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32 replies »

  1. Really interesting post and very true as we never know when an opportunity may arise in our lives.
    When I was at my best in my sales career I used to challenge myself to hand out 10 plus business cards to strangers as a way of introducing myself and the companies and services that I represented and it definitely worked for me.
    I think that the most important thing to remember is that as you said initially you are just making an introduction rather than closing the deal.
    Always be different, be prepared and stand out, I always used to dress with a Silk tie and matching pocket square and a red rose or carnation as a buttonhole and a lot of people who bought from me said that it was because they remembered me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you Paul. Thank yo for sharing your pearls of wisdom. An elevator pitch will be useful to have ready throughout the interview process as it is typically a great icebreaker to start a conversation. From phone screen to in-person interview, you’ll be asked to provide a summary of who you are, your background and what you want from your next job. The elevator pitch can also be a helpful framework as you’re planning your answer to the popular interview question, “Tell me about yourself”, or considering what to include in a cover letter.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read with much interest your post on the elevator pitch and I totally agree with you about the need for preparedness.
    During my sales career I had many opportunities to make informal introductory pitches in the most strangest of places, I also committed to handing out a minimum of 10 business cards a day to new contacts.
    I know that it worked for me and the other thing that I used to do was wear a matching tie and pocket square as well as either a single rose or carnation as a buttonhole just to enable me to stand out from the crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I heard about elevator pitch during the first year of my post grad. Since then I’ve been looking for examples of good pitches. But people don’t share them! :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. One of the best ways to demonstrate your experience is to include within your pitch specific, concrete examples of how you can apply your skills to improve the employer’s business.

      Liked by 1 person

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