Business

How to take your ‘elevator pitch’ to another level

April 17, 2019

Have you ever been asked what it is you do, only to draw a blank?

You might have experienced this recently. And as you try scrape together what it is you want to say, you feel as though you’re piecing together someone else’s life. The issue lies in trying to explain yourself in a way you believe the other person will understand. In your haste, you might misdescribe yourself. Or oversell yourself. Or undersell yourself. Worst of all, you might not make any impression at all.

And that’s a missed opportunity. Which is why you need a good ‘elevator pitch’, to act as a concise explanation of who you are and what you do.

The rules are simple: you must be able to clarify who you are and what you do in the time it takes to scale an escalator. Around 20 to 30 seconds. Sounds easy? It isn’t. You’ll find when writing one out that what you think is important takes you over the time limit. The trick is to be brief, persuasive, concise and accurate. It needs to sell you.

Ask yourself three questions

You only need to focus on three questions for a great elevator pitch:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I do?
  3. What can I offer?

Answering these three questions only is the key to being concise. If you try answer more, you’re going to go well over the 30 second rule. What’s important here is the answers you provide and how you dress them up. There are a few ways to do this. Our recommendations are all about making you stand out from the crowd.

Tip #1 Include your skills and certifications

Got skills or certifications? Share them. Are you a project manager, or a certified project manager? Are you an experienced business analyst, or a qualified business analyst with extensive experience? Introducing qualification to your elevator pitch is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out. Those of you who don’t have any certifications or would like to achieve higher level certifications can get started with SkillPoint’s e-learning courses leading to nationally-recognised professionals certifications available for a wide range of professional areas of expertise.

Tip #2 Solve a problem only you can solve

What problem do you solve by doing what you do? When writing an elevator pitch, people can get caught up on what they do. This is a mistake. What you want to do is cover the effect of what you do – the problem you solve. This is what makes you unique.

For example, if you are a cyber resilience expert, you could say you enable businesses to build their capability to resist, respond to and recover from cyber-attacks which are inevitable and happen on a regular basis. If you are a change manager, you could say you enable businesses to adapt, evolve and grow to survive in highly competitive markets. These are both interesting answers.

Tip #3 Leave breadcrumbs

Your elevator pitch will raise questions. You can influence what those questions are by leaving breadcrumbs. The benefit is you can prepare for a conversation after your elevator pitch, something few people actually consider.  

For example, if you are a portfolio manager, you could mention ‘results’ in your pitch but not specify the actual results. You could mention how your experience helped achieve your ‘greatest accomplishment’ but not say what that accomplishment was. Breadcrumbs give you control over the next stage of conversation. True, they might be ignored, but if they’re tasty breadcrumbs they’ll probably get picked up on.

Try applying these three tips to your elevator pitch and see where they take you. Don’t forget to practise saying what you write out loud because it’s all too easy to write in a way you’d never speak to someone.

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