I remember sitting in a career seminar where the career coach asked “If you met Bill Gates in an elevator and he is in a hurry, how you would convince him to be interested to meet you again and hear what you have to say?” Most of those gathered that day gave it a shot but fell short of the requirement. Condensing all their experiences into a 30-60 seconds speech seemed more like the twelve tasks of Hercules.
So what is an Elevator Pitch?
It is a brief account that sums up who you are, what you do and why you would be the perfect fit or candidate for a job or opening. The truth is that if you’re looking for a job (seeking to introduce yourself to prospective employers or preparing for an interview), then you might want consider to crafting your personalised elevator pitch and perfect the art of delivering one.
Here are some tips on perfecting an elevator pitch which leaves a lasting impression and gets you the job.
Tip 1: Be clear about your job target.
When putting together an elevator pitch, try as much as possible to be clear and zoom in on your field/area of expertise and the type of job you’re pursuing. Until you can clearly explain the type of position you want, nobody can help you find it or hire you to do it. A good pitch (and this relates to your resume and cover letter, too) should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?
Here is an example of what your pitch might start with:
“Hi, I am Kofi Asante. I am a Brand Marketing Manager with 10 years of experience in the travel industry – I’ve worked for companies including Diageo and Unilever – and I am looking for opportunities in Ghana.”
Furthermore, briefly mention some details about what makes you stand out – and what your specific skills are that could help a potential employer.
Tip 2: Drop the WIFM (What’s in It for Me?) approach
Tailor your pitch to the needs of your audience, not yours. Drop the What’s in it for me approach and try as much as possible to make your pitch a less selfish one. Let it be about what you can offer. You’ll only be successful if the person you’re talking to understands your position.
Tip 3: Be conscious of time
The time for each pitch is normally very short, so make sure you practice it ahead of time and keep under the set time limit. Do not parrot around and make sure that you measure every word and its placement. Remember you have a short time to make an impression.
Tip 4: Be confident and audible
Who wants to listen to someone who sounds as if they don’t believe in what they are putting across? No one wants to. In this regard, you should be audible when putting across your points and say them with a lot of confidence since you believe in them. Remember, your voice is your tool in such endeavours and so use them to convey your point or ideas. Always keep your voice interesting.
Additionally, try to sound conversational and not not as if you’ve memorized it by heart. You can practice it with friends and ask them for feedback. If your friends don’t understand what your key points were, your speech still needs work.
Tip 5: Don’t undersell or oversell your skills or experience
Be wary of underselling yourself. If you do, people won’t know how you can help them so they won’t be able to recommend you to people who might be able to offer you the job. On the other hand, if you oversell yourself, people then won’t take you seriously.
Tip 6: Prepare a few variations
You don’t want to be known as that guy or lady who keeps saying the same thing when given audience. Thus another important tip is to make sure that you have a few variations. Make sure you master key talking points of your speech and then tailor it for particular occasions.
Tip 7: Tell stories
Last but not the least, tell your story. The best stories always leaves a lasting impressions. Paint pictures in the minds of those you talk to. How do you do this? Tell stories of who you are and what you deliver. This is the only way to ensure that you get and sustain attention. To do so, employ the use of descriptive words, and examples. Do not forget to make your stories real.
I hope these tips helps you prepare a pitch which leaves a lasting impression during your next interview or presentation.