Picture this: you’re waiting for the elevator at work. The doors open, you walk inside and someone follows behind you. As you turn around you realize it’s none other than the CEO of your company.
The doors close and the elevator begins to move. You know you want to say something but what should it be? Should you introduce yourself, try to make a positive impression, maybe even be so bold as to tell him a joke? Unfortunately, as you’re figuring out how to capitalize on this opportunity, the elevator stops, the doors open and your chance walks out the door.
For most people, this hypothetical scenario may never take place. However, there will certainly be times in your professional life when a brief window of opportunity will present itself, and having an impressive elevator pitch in your tool kit is the best way to make the most of that moment.
A good elevator pitch is short (the length of an elevator ride), memorable, and effectively communicates your message. So whether you are at an event, at an interview or have an accidental run-in on the elevator, here are four tips to creating the perfect pitch that can help you land a new opportunity.
Know your goal.
Are you trying to get hired or get a promotion? Are you attempting to speak to your current boss or impress your future one? Either way, what you say in your pitch depends on what your goal is, and communicating that goal clearly and effectively will make the most out of your limited time.
Create the pitch.
Who are you? What do you do that no one else can? What sets you apart? Now is the chance for you to elaborate (briefly) on your experience, the environments you’ve worked in, the projects you’ve worked on and strengths that make you a unique asset. This is the time to pitch yourself and your skills, so don’t be afraid to be direct and enthusiastic.
Call to action.
This is where you need to verbalize your goal for the pitch and engage your listener. Hook them in and make them aware of why you initiated the conversation and why they should listen. Are you looking for a business card or interested in interviewing? Calling them to action will keep them engaged and make it clear as to what you’re hoping to accomplish.
This step is probably the most important because a strong elevator pitch can make an outstanding impression, but a sloppy one can do just the opposite. Even the best pitches can go wrong if the delivery doesn’t match the level of the message. So practice your pitch until you feel confident, and give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal.
Regardless of if you’re unemployed and seeking a job or employed and trying to move up in the ranks, developing your elevator pitch keeps you prepared at all times to help elevate your career.