I’ve heard of the elevator pitch before, but didn’t like the idea of ‘selling myself’ at networking events. I’m not that good at tooting my own horn, so to speak. So, why would I even entertain the idea now?
I went to a ‘Women in Business’ networking event recently. I had no trouble making conversation with various women, but I wasn’t prepared for succinctly answering questions about my occupation, my career direction, or myself; the entire purpose of the evening was to do just this. People, in particular events, want to know what makes you stand out, what you bring to the table, and why you’re interesting. It’s time that I learn the art of the 30-second pitch.
What is the 30-second pitch?
An elevator pitch, or a 30 second pitch, is a short summary to quickly and simply define you, your experiences and your direction.
How do you make a 30-second pitch?
- Introduce yourself – share your name, your education, and your current employment (if applicable)
- List your:
- Major accomplishments or skills: use your LinkedIn profile and write down a few key points of why you’re great. Include your skills & accomplishments in a way that is meaningful to the person you’re talking to, leaving out irrelevant points. The goal is to be as succinct as possible.
- Passions: what excites you in a day? What do you wish you could spend the rest of your days doing?
- Share your goals of where you want to go: what do you want to do, where do you want to go, what are you looking for?
- Share a story if you can. People create stronger associations with stories than they do with a sales pitch.
- Practice, practice, practice:
- Make sure you’ve got it down to 30 seconds. Practice with your family and colleagues and ask for feedback. Practice until it feels and sounds natural and shows your real personality. In other words, you should feel and sound like this is a true reflection of you.
- Consider your body language (posture, eye contact, volume, tone, facial expression, clothing, handshake) and how it impacts your message.
- Keep it conversational. Use clear language – not everyone understands the company jargon. Pretend you’re trying to explain it to your parents.
- Try it: See if you feel comfortable and revise again as necessary.
- Ask for guidance: if you’re interested in learning more about an organization, or a person, ask if they can recommend words of wisdom for someone trying to break into their industry or organization. If you’re comfortable, ask for a card and follow up with that individual with more questions.
When do you use it?
An interview: tell me about yourself
Professional organizations/associations when asked to introduce yourself
You need to keep the pitch real. It has to match who you are as a person. It cannot come across as a sales pitch. You are telling people, in 30 seconds or less, the essence of you. It should feel natural and you should feel confident when delivering it. If you don’t feel confident, go back and revise until you do.
Give me an example!
Hi. I’m Andrea. I currently work as a social media strategist for NewToBC. I created the social media channels used by NewToBC to promote awareness of services available through BC public libraries and immigrant serving organizations that assist newcomers in their transition to life in Canada. From inception, I have gained approximately 1500 Facebook followers, 370 Twitter followers, and over 3000 views on our blog. What I love about social media is finding the right content that resonates with our followers that is timely, relevant and informative. I would love to learn more about how your company uses social media to engage with people about their needs and what tools you use to do this.
*If the conversation went well, I would then ask for a business card to connect with them at a later date when we both have more time.
The Burnaby Public Library has a wealth of resources on this subject. Why not pop over to their catalogue to see what titles they have?