A good elevator pitch is something that should be in the toolkit of every competitive young professional. Whether you’re a student, recent graduate, or just looking to make a career change, make sure you have an elevator pitch prepared at all times. An elevator pitch is a short speech that describes who you are and what you do. The idea of the pitch is that it should last no longer than a short elevator ride – no more than 30 or 40 seconds.
There are many situations in which young professionals need a good elevator pitch, and many of them include networking opportunities. Whether you’re attending an organized networking event or just in the elevator with a professional whom you admire, you likely don’t have a lot of time to chat. An elevator speech will capture their attention, and leave them wanting to know more about the skills you have to offer. However, you can also use an elevator pitch to introduce a project idea, colleague or organization. In fact, you can always pull out your elevator pitch on holidays, when your distant relatives ask what you do for a living!
Preparing a good elevator pitch can be difficult, particularly for those early in their careers. It can take a great deal of time to craft the perfect speech, and most people write several drafts before finding what they think sounds right. Of course, you want your pitch to sound natural in a conversation, rather than salesy, but you still need it to be compelling.
Here are 5 tips for crafting a good elevator pitch:
1. Consider your goals
The first step in knowing how to write a good elevator pitch is to know why you are writing it. Identifying the objective of your pitch will help you when writing and presenting it. For example, are you looking to get a job or an internship? Are you looking for a promotion or to move into a new position? Or maybe you just need an engaging pitch to finally explain to your family what exactly it is that you do.
2. Identify your key skills
Your key skills are likely what qualify you for a position. When you pitch yourself to a potential employer, they need to know from the outset that you are equipped with the skills required to excel at the job. Consider even unexpected skills, as these may be the ones to help you stand out.
3. Define your audience
Each audience requires a slightly different tone and content. Think about who your elevator pitch is aimed at, and that will help you decide vocabulary, tone and even length. You can also include key points that your specific audience is sure to take away with them, based on their position and interest.
4. Decide what makes you unique
This is a perfect opportunity to consider your competition. Who else is out there in your field, and what do they have to offer? Knowing how to write a good elevator pitch will identify those things to make you stand out from the competition. Whether it is a specific experience, skill or idea, make sure you highlight it in your speech. Your audience needs to know exactly why they should choose you out of all the other people they talk to.
Practice is one of the most important aspects of preparing your elevator speech. Until you say it out loud, you won’t know how it sounds. Consider hopping in an actual elevator (alone), and practicing your speech to make sure it sticks to the right length. Another great option is to record your speech and listen to it back. This will help you determine whether or not it sounds natural, and can fill into normal conversation. Of course, if you can, try it on your family, friends or roommates, to get their input and advice!
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1. 2017 Detroit career exploration trip and reception, by Gerald R. Ford of Public Policy, CC BY-ND 2.0