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Executing Elevator Pitches: How to Prepare a Strong Elevator Pitch

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a quick summary about your background and experience. I know the name kind of throws you off, but it is named “elevator” pitch because this introduction should only be as long as a short elevator ride (about 30 to 60 seconds). These pitches are commonly used for interviewing for a job, networking, job fairs, LinkedIn summaries, career expos, and even just meeting someone for the first time. It’s versatility makes it an important resource to start using as college students building our professional persona. However, as simple as it sounds, coming up with a targeted synopsis about yourself is harder than you think.

Where to Start

First, just think about an elevator pitch in the simplest way, maybe as a rough draft or just a simple introduction. If a possible colleague, boss, or employer were to meet you for the first time what would they want to know? Now make sure you include these points:

1. Introduce yourself

This should include your name and maybe a salutation. The most important aspect of this step is your delivery. In most situations, you should smile and extend a handshake.

2. Tell them what you do

Now, you should talk about your background. It should cover education, work experiences, skills, and specialties. In this section, you want to really sell yourself. Keep the amount you brag to a tasteful level but also do not be too humble. Also, make sure you only include important information.

3. Explain why you are the perfect candidate

It is important to shape this part around what you are pitching for and to the person you are pitching to. For example, if you are there for a job or internship you should describe why you would be perfect for the position. Then, you want to target it into how you could help or why you would be a perfect fit for their company. In such a short pitch, this is the biggest thing that they will take away from you, so make it a strong statement. Even stating their company name could make you stand out from other candidates.

4. Wrap it up

At the end of your pitch it is imperative that you ask if you could follow up with them later; this can be an email conversation, sit-down meeting, or coffee outing. This shows that you are serious about the position or relationship. While it is definitely not an easy thing to do, many will get follow-ups just by asking. Additionally, depending on the situation it would be smart to have a business card or resume on hand.

Important Aspects

While every piece of information that has been shared is important, there are a couple of things that you should take away. First, make sure you carefully select all the information that you choose to include. Remember, you only have about three to five sentences of information that you have time to discuss. I encourage you to select whatever makes you look like the strongest candidate and showcases your unique, genuine abilities. Secondly, make sure you practice your elevator speech multiple times. The more natural your speech sounds, the more likely your audience will feel comfortable around you. Lastly, use confident body language and make sure you are looking at the person you are talking to. People will not only judge you based on the content of your speech, but also in the way that you present it.

What Not to Do

There are definitely challenges with perfecting your elevator pitch but here are a few things that you should focus on avoiding:

  1. Rushing through the pitch

  2. Rambling about irrelevant information

  3. Fidget

  4. Speak as if you are reading off a script

  5. If you finish your pitch and they keep talking to you, continue the conversation naturally.

Now that you have a better understanding of an elevator pitch and how to make it effective, try writing one. You may need to write several drafts and practice each of them before you feel confident in the one you will go with. It is definitely a helpful resource to have on hand and you will start using it sooner than you think!

By: Sierra Flynn

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