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How to Craft an Effective Elevator Pitch

Updated: May 20, 2020

A well-crafted elevator pitch is an instrumental asset in a professional’s toolkit but creating a succinct and effective one can be challenging. It is a quick introduction of yourself that you give in settings such as conferences, seminars, networking events, orientations and…elevators. They are 30 seconds to one minute in length and help to give a snapshot of your professional accomplishments and goals. Similar to a resume, this speech is something that should always be up-to-date and ready to be dished at any given moment. While your speech should be unique to you, follow these general guidelines to ensure that your pitch is an effective one:

  1. Start with your goal. What are you passionate about? It is important to articulate your passion and your professional goal in your elevator pitch. This will help whomever you’re speaking with understand your trajectory, mindset, and motivators.

  2. Draw on valuable experience. What have you done thus far? Talk about the current work you are doing or a past accomplishment. Note that while this may be easier said than done as this part of your pitch to relate back to the person you’re speaking with and be relevant to the setting you're in.

  3. Identify your most valuable asset. Now consider what you do well and what makes you stand out from the crowd. It is important to be able to articulate this in a manner which is confident, but not ostentatious.

  4. Make the connection. The conversation can’t be all about you. Now is the time to give them the floor by asking a question that will keep them engaged.

Now that we have identified how to craft your speech, here are some things that you should avoid during your elevator pitch:

  1. Talking about politics. While chatting about politics may show that you are up-to-speed on current events, it can be very risky to chat about personal beliefs when you first meet someone. Keep it professional (and safe) by avoiding political discussions.

  2. Ignoring the signs. If someone seems uninterested, pivot the conversation in a new direction to draw them back in. Elevator pitches are short. Don’t waste the little time you have talking about something that turns your counterpart off.

  3. Forgetting to open the floor for further discussion. Failing to ask for a follow up is a huge missed opportunity. End your chat with an invitation for coffee or by exchanging email addresses to keep the conversation going in the future.

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