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There is a common misconception that the elevator pitch is the thing that will sway hiring managers (or even investors!) that you are the perfect person for an opportunity. This view by LinkedIn News’ Africa editor Solange Umwimana currently has social media buzzing.
Umwimana references author Aja Frost who said the elevator pitch “is never an opportunity to close a deal.” Instead, it is an introduction designed to get you to the next conversation or the second interview. It therefore needs to be “clear, concise, and well-paced” and last from 30 seconds to a minute.
Frost offers these five tips to perfect your elevator pitch:
- It should answer this question: Who are you and what do you currently do?
- Describe your (or your company’s) mission in one brief sentence.
- Describe how you (or your company) adds value.
- It needs to have an attention-grabbing hook or story.
- The pitch should sound natural and conversational.
Since Umwimana’s LinkedIn post, many experts have joined the conversation by sharing their views on crafting a successful elevator pitch.
“Whether you’re introducing yourself at a networking event, telling new colleagues about your business, or pitching to another professional, you want to capture attention and get it fast,” says Joe Gatto, who is better known as Teacher Joe.
“In situations like these, you need a short and easy-to-grasp explanation of your company and its products. An elevator pitch – also known as elevator speech – can better introduce professionals to your company.”
Meanwhile, public speaking expert David D. Doerrier adds, “First impressions count, and with research showing that a first impression is formed in just seven seconds, it becomes necessary for businesses to ‘wow’ prospects right off the mark. It’s well worth taking the time to form a great elevator pitch, as your pitch can be used at meetings, networking events, and pretty much any time that someone asks, ‘what do you do?’”
Doerrier also shared tips to help you craft the perfect elevator pitch.
Short and sweet: The point of an elevator pitch is that it should only last the duration of an elevator ride. The shorter your delivery is, the better.
Keep it natural: When crafting your pitch, you want to make sure it sounds like you, and not like something a used car salesperson would say when trying to sell you.
Confidence is key: Selling yourself can feel awkward. After all, most of us spend our lives trying to be humble. But, confidence and cockiness are two different things.
Avoid industry jargon: It’s just like Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Practice makes perfect: After you finish working all the kinks out of your spiel, you need to practice it until it becomes second nature.
Know yourself: Before you start creating your elevator pitch, take some time to analyse your skill-set and figure out what you do and what you would like to do.
Stop talking: Alright, you’ve delivered your pitch, now it’s time to shut your mouth and give the person you were talking to a chance to respond.