Pitching Me, Myself and I: A Guide on Elevator Pitches

How many times have you been in a situation where you needed to explain your business or your personal brand quickly, but you came up short with what to say? Maybe you overshared and didn’t know which key points to keep and which ones to toss out. I have been in those moments of self doubt thinking, what would this person like me to say? What does this interviewer or potential lead wish I would tell them about myself or my business?


There are times in life when we will need to quickly impress someone. But what happens when we fall short with our words or our presentation. In this article, I am going to share tips and tricks on how to pitch yourself no matter the audience, situation, or the stakes. 

Are you ready to pitch me, myself and I? 


Stepping onto the Elevator 


Let’s talk about what an elevator pitch is. Think about when you are standing in an elevator (or lift). You have just pressed the button for your floor and are waiting for the doors to close. Within this timeframe you roughly have anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds before the doors fully close and you are heading off. 


Now, imagine that on the other side of the doors (before they close) is a photographer, designer, mentor, etc. who you desperately want to work with or get their expert help. You are now in a starring competition between this person, yet you are unsure what to say. You know you want them to get on the elevator with you, but you have only 5 to 10 seconds to convey why they should.


You now realize that you need an elevator pitch. This short descriptive conversation about you, your product or service should be presented in a way that the listener can easily understand. Keep in mind these pitches are roughly 30 to 60 seconds long. 


Let’s head up to the first floor to learn more about writing these pitches. 


First Floor: Introduce Yourself 


It should come to no surprise that the first thing you should do when meeting a stranger is to introduce yourself. Make sure that you are presentable when you make the first contact. Within the first few seconds of meeting someone you will give them a first impression. It is important to make that impression memorable yet professional. 


When you meet someone make sure you say your name clearly, have a smile, and shake their hand. Of course if the person you are meeting with is from a different culture than your own, make sure to have a basic understanding of what not to do in these situations as to avoid offending them. 


Here’s an example of a simple way to start your pitch:


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do?” 


Let’s head up to the next floor. 


Second Floor: Introduce Yourself or Your Business


Now that they know your name, you need to begin explaining yourself or your business. This is the part where many will want to overshare, but you need to find and stick to the most relevant points. Many experts on elevator pitches say that the best way to figure out what is most important is to write everything down on a piece of paper. Then, you need to cut out everything that is not absolutely crucial to explaining you or your business. 


Don’t forget to think about your audience. Ideally, you should know who you are going to pitch to, which will help you prepare. This will not only help you categorize your list but will also inform you about how much time you will have with them. 


Let’s build on the example from above:


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do? I’m a social media manager specializing in overseeing successful social media campaigns from start to finish. Over my five years in the industry I have worked with established brands looking to revamp their social media to ones just starting out.” 


OR


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do? I’m the Founder of Travel-a-Day, a business helping people plan and book their travel adventures. By using automation software, we’re able to find the best deals for our clients.”


Nice work. Let’s get back on and head up. 


Third Floor: What’s Your Purpose? 


Every elevator pitch has a purpose. What’s yours? Do you want to establish a new contact? Are you looking for an interview? Do you want them to work with your business? What are you asking from your audience? 


This is the part of your pitch where you will want to highlight some of the values you have, and showcase just what you are asking of them. 


Let’s see what Alice has to say about this floor. 


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do? I’m a social media manager specializing in overseeing successful social media campaigns from start to finish. Over my five years in the industry I have worked with established brands looking to revamp their social media to ones just starting out. I have followed your brand for many years and find your content to be refreshing and innovative. I believe that with me on your team, we could create stronger content and increase conversation rates and sales for the company.” 


OR


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do? I’m the Founder of Travel-a-Day, a business helping people plan and book their travel adventures. By using automation software, we’re able to find the best deals for our clients, and we’ve been able to save customers 20% on their overall expenses when they book with us. I believe that if your company booked your business trips with Travel-a-Day you would also see the savings on your balance sheet.”  


Let’s head to the last floor.


Fourth Floor: Finish with a Call to Action


Now that you have introduced who you are and what you want, you need to finish with a strong call to action. You never want to leave a pitch without a clear understanding of what you want the next steps to be. Remember, you have just met this person so make your call to action simple with little requirement on their part. 


Let’s see what Alice’s call to action is. 


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do? I’m a social media manager specializing in overseeing successful social media campaigns from start to finish. Over my five years in the industry I have worked with established brands looking to revamp their social media to ones just starting out. I have followed your brand for many years and find your content to be refreshing and innovative. I believe that with me on your team, we could create stronger content and increase conversation rates and sales for the company. Would you be available next week for a quick chat about potential opportunities on your team?” 


OR


“Hello, my name is Alice. How do you do? I’m the Founder of Travel-a-Day, a business helping people plan and book their travel adventures. By using automation software, we’re able to find the best deals for our clients, and we’ve been able to save customers 20% on their overall expenses when they book with us. I believe that if your company booked your business trips with Travel-a-Day you would also see the savings on your balance sheet. Would you be available next week to have a strategy call on how Travel-a-Day could help your business save on travel expenses?” 


If they agree to what you are asking, don’t forget to thank them for their time and swap contact information. In my opinion, it is always best for you to get their information. This way, you can follow up and thank them again. 


We have one more floor left!


Penthouse: Tips for Your Delivery

  

You made it to the penthouse, congratulations! Now that you know what you want to say, you need to figure out the best way to deliver your pitch. 


Here are a few tips for delivering your elevator pitch

  • Slow down 

  • Speak naturally

  • Use confident body language 

  • Have a good handshake 

  • Speak in an upbeat tone 

  • Avoid jargon 

  • Breathe 

  • Try to relax

The biggest tip is to practice your pitch until you are confident enough to use it in any situation. Don’t let the elevator doors close on you and your opportunities!

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