Going up? 8 tips to elevate your elevator pitch

Posted on Posted in Business Etiquette Workshop

You get in the elevator on the ground floor and the only other person in it is the CEO of the corporation you’re hoping to win as a client. Or the MD of the 200-person company you just joined. You greet her and she asks, “Have we met?” You have just 30 golden seconds to make an unforgettable impression. Are you dying a little inside or have you got your elevator pitch ready?

This TV publicity image released by AMC shows Linda Cardellini as Sylvia Rosen, left, and Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from "Mad Men." The program was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series on, Thursday July 18, 2013. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy ceremony will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. It will air Sept. 22 on CBS. (AP Photo/AMC, Jordin Althaus)

That was the easy scenario. Here’s the difficult one. You’re at the airport dashing to catch a plane and you bump into an old school friend. You know through the grapevine that he’s just sold his company to a multi-national big name brand. He greets you with, “What are you doing with yourself these days?” Again, you’ve got just 30 seconds or you’ll miss your plane, yet you’d really like to reconnect with him.

“I’m divorced with 2.4 children and I work as a lawyer/HR Manager/salesperson for XYZ,” doesn’t really say that much about you, does it? Is this really the heart you want someone to see when they look at you, and when they think about you afterwards? It’s all too easy to hide behind our families and our jobs and end up sounding just like everybody else.

airport meeting

With courage and confidence you can learn two elevator pitches that will make you stand out from the crowd, one for business opportunities and one for personal meetings. Here are 8 tips to help you nail it.

  1. Don’t waste your time wishing you’d bothered to refresh your lippy. You can be unforgettable anyway. Stand up straight, smile broadly, and square your shoulders. You are about to introduce someone very important.
  2. You probably have a business card to hand so you don’t need to waste precious time on your job title and company name, although if you’re meeting someone for the first time be sure to get your name in.
  3. Anybody can be a lawyer/HR Manager/salesperson… but nobody else has done what you’ve done. Focus directly on the person and quietly show them who you are: “I’ve just finished working on my first Supreme Court case and I’m so proud to be part of a team serving justice”, “I’m on my way to attend the graduation ceremony of the most rebellious person I ever mentored”, “I’m about to sign my company’s most wanted client”.
  4. Cutting to the chase not only lets you tell the most interesting part of your story, it shows that you know what matters. Not your job title, not your company name, not what you do: how you use the position you’ve reached and the fact that you understand the significance of it.
  5. This approach tells the person you’re talking to something else that’s really important: it says that you rate them highly enough to put your best self forward to them. It also shows that you are creative.
  6. Even though you only have 30 seconds, a pause can work as hard for you as words can. Let your statement sink in, then create an opening to see them again when you have more than 30 seconds. “I’d love to talk to you about it”, “I’d be so interested to hear about your future plans”, etc.
  7. Keep updating your elevator pitch as time passes and your story develops. Every time you achieve another milestone – and it doesn’t have to be huge, it just has to matter to you – keep replacing the old one in your pitch.
  8. Practice your elevator pitch at least once a week. You never know what opportunities the universe is going to offer you and you should always have your best self ready to meet them. Doing so reminds you of who you are, and helps to keep your self-confidence boosted.

Having an introduction ready for emergencies is a helpful strategy for someone who is low on self-confidence because it gives you an automatic response when you unexpectedly bump into someone you want to impress. What’s more, it forces you to think about why you’re worthy and we can all use a reminder from time to time, can’t we?

Feel free to add your tips – as ever, we love hearing from you!


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