How To Rock Your Elevator Pitch In 30 Seconds or Less

by Thérèse Cator

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We’ve heard people say that the elevator pitch is dead. Don’t believe that for a second. Here’s why:

Have you stopped meeting people who might be key influencers to get you jobs or clients? I’m sure your answer is no. That’s why when you meet these power players, you’ve got to be armed to tell them about yourself in 30-seconds or less.

Don’t think of an elevator pitch as a sales pitch.  Instead think of it as a relationship building tool. When people know what you do, they may hire you or know someone who will want to hire you now or in the future.  When you take the sales element out of it, you take the pressure off.

The bottom line is you never know who you’re sitting or standing next to on a plane, subway or elevator.  Hey, it could be your next client, fan, or even the assistant to Steven Spielberg.  Never discount anyone you meet because you never know where that relationship will lead.

Oh, and if you’re thinking “I hate what I do!” we’ve got you covered too.

Read more for tips on how to create an awesome elevator pitch that will knock the socks off of anyone who you use it on plus check out our real world examples.

Be Clear

Your first step is to keep yourself clearly in mind.

What do I mean by this? You can have a lot of different skills and talents, but what are the TOP one (two max) things that you do? You really want your pitch to be focused so that the person you’re talking to can get a crystal clear picture of what you do.

After all, we all meet a lot of people in a day and it can be hard to keep everything straight by the end of the day, much less a few weeks later.

When you keep to the point whoever you’re talking to will not only be able to remember it but also share what you do with others. That means you’re making their job easier.

Be Brief

This is totally not the time to talk your new buddy’s ear off, no matter how wonderful you are. Part of being clear about yourself and your top talents is to be BRIEF about those talents as well. Otherwise, you start to ramble on and the person will be looking for an exit to the conversation.

The rule of thumb is to keep it to one or two sentences.

Be Authentic

Authenticity is the new sexy.

Didn’t you get the memo?

Well, consider yourself informed.  Authenticity attracts people to you like bees to honey.

If you’re working to be like someone else, STOP IT right now. There’s no need to pretend you’re something you’re not because people can spot it a mile away.  So when crafting your elevator pitch, make sure it sounds like you and it’s authentic to who you are and what you do.

Want a surefire way to test this out?  Say it to yourself out loud.

Does it sound like you?

If not, scrap it and go back to the drawing board.

Highlight Your Unique Qualities

You may be in a crowded industry so it’s really important to stress your differences. Think about what separates you from the competition.  Is it your point of view? Is it quality? Is it efficiency of how you work? Is it your designs?

Narrow in on it and highlight that! Being special and different makes you more desirable.

Practice Makes Perfect

Have you said your elevator pitch out loud? No?  Then, it’s time to do it.  Remember you don’t want to stumble over your words or say something totally confusing.

Practice it in the mirror; practice it while you’re walking the dog; practice it to your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/fiance/whoever. The more you say it, the more natural it will sound on your tongue. And that means – it’ll sound better to the person who’s going to hear it.

Once it sounds good, get out there with your elevator pitch! Look for a relevant networking event. Use it in an email. Cold call someone you need to get in touch with. Change your About section on your Facebook page.

If you let it just sit in your mind, two things will happen 1) you’ll be more likely to stumble over it when you need it most and 2) you’ll lose the motivation to improve your business and/or your brand.

Remember, you’re creating an elevator pitch in the first place because you want to grow your business or brand.

What If I Hate What I Do?

I know not everyone reading this is totally in love with what they do.

If you’re not digging what you do, but have a side passion going on, you can highlight that instead.

Just because you’re a banker in real life, that doesn’t mean you can’t also be a cake decorator. You just want to phrase it correctly. Think about using phrases that show your future plans like:

  • I’m transitioning into…
  • Right now, I work as a ___________, but I have a huge passion for…

You get the idea – it takes some tact and skill, but you can still share who you are without bad-mouthing your current gig.

Real-World Elevator Pitches

Here are four examples of mediocre elevator pitches (aka Playing Small Pitch) re-vamped to Play it Big pitches!

The Health Coach

Playing Small Pitch

“I’m a health coach. I do what all health coaches do – work with clients on health and nutrition. That’s about it.”

Playing it Big Pitch

“I’m a detox health coach and I love helping my clients lose weight with pleasure and ease. My average client loses 20 pounds or more without giving up the foods they love.”

The Filmmaker Who Walks Dogs By Day

Playing Small Pitch

“I walk dogs during the day, and I’m working on this doc whenever I can find the time.”

Playing it Big Pitch

“I’m a dog walking guru by day, and at night I’m working on my passion project a documentary called ‘Kung Fu in Hiding’ about the secret life of Kung Fu masters. I’m heading to Asia to start shooting this summer.”

The Wedding Photographer

Playing Small Pitch

“I’m a wedding photographer and shoot weddings mostly in the Denver area. It’s a cool gig.”

Playing it Big Pitch

“I’m a wedding photographer and I shoot weddings with this great old-style camera called a tinotype. I’m the only one in the Denver area who uses this kind of camera. My clients, their families and friends love it because it gives their wedding photos a nostalgic and vintage look and feel.”

The Cupcake Phenom Who’s An Executive Assistant

Playing Small Pitch

“I’m an assistant for a securities firm and it’s a total bore. I wish I could open my bakery already.”

Playing it Big Pitch

“My days are filled with supporting high-powered execs; however when I’m off, I’m perfecting my great-grandmother’s mouthwatering cupcake recipes. On the weekends, I sell my famous red velvet cupcakes at the Union Square farmer’s market and pretty soon I’ll have enough money to open my bakery.”

Now it’s your turn to create your elevator pitch.  Want to test it out?  Send me a message on Twitter.

Got a friend who could perfect their elevator pitch?  Well, then send this article to them.

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Photo credit: A.gonzalez on flickr.


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