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How to Build a Powerful Elevator Pitch

  • 15th Sep'23

Why is the elevator pitch a crucial tool for your professional journey? An elevator pitch, also known as an elevator speech, is a concise overview of your educational background, work history, and primary objective. Its name stems from its succinct nature, designed to be delivered within the span of a short elevator ride.

This pitch centres entirely on you—your identity, your professional expertise, and, if applicable, your career aspirations. When employed effectively, this brief yet impactful speech can pave the way for a memorable first impression on potential employers and business collaborators alike. Beyond initial encounters, it holds the potential to forge connections with new colleagues on your job's onset, broaden your professional network, or even open doors to new career opportunities.


What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch, a succinct promotional speech or written snippet, serves as a persuasive tool to captivate a specific target audience and underscore the advantages of a product or service, ultimately motivating action. The versatility of elevator pitches is truly remarkable, spanning various domains and catering to a wide array of individuals:

  • Students employ them to advocate for colleges, internships, and scholarship opportunities.

  • Job seekers pitch their skills and expertise to potential employers.

  • Businesses present their offerings to customers, investors, and prospective employees.

  • Professionals utilize elevator pitches to engage curious parties.


Choosing the right moment for your elevator pitch

For those on the job hunt, the opportune occasions to employ an elevator pitch range from career fairs and online platforms, such as Twitter bios and LinkedIn descriptions, to secure virtual or in-person job interviews. Rehearsing your elevator speech equips you with the confidence needed to impress hiring managers and corporate representatives.

Beyond job-seeking scenarios, introductions at mixers and networking events become more impactful with the integration of your elevator pitch. Whether participating in professional association gatherings or other communal occasions, having your elevator pitch prepared ensures you can engage seamlessly in discussions with newfound acquaintances.


A guide to creating an elevator pitch

As previously discussed, there are several sizes and shapes for elevator pitches depending on the situation, and you will find a variety of distinct styles in the templates and samples later on the internet. But here is a fundamental structure you can work with:

1. Identify your goal

Begin by considering the purpose of your pitch. Do you wish to notify potential customers about your business, for instance? Do you wish to present an executive with your brilliant idea for a new product? Or do you like a brief but interesting speech to describe your line of work?


2. Describe your job

Describe the work that your organization undertakes to begin your pitch. Think about the issues you resolve and the ways in which you assist others. If you can, include data or a statistic that demonstrates the worth of what you do.

Before you begin writing, ask yourself: What do you want people to remember most about you?

Remember that you should first feel excited about your pitch. Because if you don't become animated while speaking, neither will your listeners. Your pitch should make you laugh and make your heart beat faster. Although people might not remember every word you say, they will probably remember how enthusiastic you are.


3. Illuminate your unique selling proposition (USP)

Your elevator pitch should brilliantly showcase your unique selling proposition or USP. Identify the qualities that set you apart from others, whether it's your individuality, business concept, or idea. Following an introduction to your area of expertise, seamlessly integrate your USP into the conversation.


4. Elicit engagement through thoughtful questions

Beyond presenting your USP, prompt engagement from your audience. Employ open-ended questions that invite participation, fostering an interactive dialogue. To excel, equip yourself to respond adeptly to inquiries that might be directed your way.


5. Compose a polished presentation

Once each element is in place, piece together your pitch. Test its duration by reading it aloud, aiming for a maximum of 20 to 30 seconds. Avoid overstaying your welcome or monopolizing the conversation. Trim any unnecessary details to maintain a compelling and concise delivery. Make sure your body language is just right.


6. Hone Through Practice

Understand that practice is key to mastery in any endeavor. Recognize that your delivery style is just as crucial as the content itself. Without practice, the risk of speaking too hurriedly, sounding scripted, or omitting vital points looms.

Dedicate consistent effort to practicing your pitch. As you practice, your delivery will become more fluid and authentic. Aim for a conversation-like tone rather than a hard-sell approach. Pay attention to your body language, as it communicates as much as your words. Utilize a mirror or, better yet, engage your colleagues for practice.

Embrace the evolution of your pitch as you gain familiarity with it. Strive to prevent it from sounding overly rehearsed or formulaic, even though it evolves over time. The goal is to strike a harmonious balance between preparedness and natural conversation.


Advice on Making Virtual Elevator Pitches

When it comes to a virtual elevator pitch, the same rules apply. You might get the chance to present an elevator pitch at a virtual career fair, at a virtual job interview, or at a networking gathering. Observe the aforementioned dos and don'ts. 

Also, bear in mind the following advice: 

Check your appearance. You should have a spotless and respectable background. Additionally, check your lighting and avoid any distracting shadows. 

Establish eye contact. To appear to make eye contact with the person on the other end of the video chat, try practicing in front of the camera beforehand so that you become accustomed to gazing at the camera. Be careful not to overdo it or stare, though!

Strive for high vigor. Similar to in-person pitches, you should try to talk slowly. Modulate your voice (to prevent sounding monotone) and maintain a high level of excitement. People are more likely to become distracted during video meetings, so it's important to maintain their focus. 


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their aspirations in careers and life. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


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