The Elevator Pitch

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Dec 27, 2010 in , , , | 1 Comment

Do you have an “elevator pitch”?

An elevator pitch allows you to show your personal value to networking contacts.

First, the pitch is your personal marketing message that only spans the time it takes to go from the bottom to top floors in the elevator of a high-rise (hence the name “elevator pitch”). Second, it is used when meeting networking contacts, or in an informational meeting. Third, this is not a “canned” statement, but you’ll need to speak naturally, persuasively, and highlight a bit your work background.

Pitch Your Best Pitch

The following is by Kerri Day Keller, Director of Career and Employment Services, Kansas State University. You’ll want to fill in the blanks with your personal information.

Start out by developing a ten second sound bite something like this:

“Hi, I’m ________________, I’m excited to be graduating this year from ____________.

Over the course of my college career, I have developed experience in _________________

and I’m looking for an opportunity to _____________.”

For your two to three minute elevator pitch, she suggests you add to your sound bite, “…briefly describing why you are attending an event, who you are visiting at an agency, or what you have been doing in regards to your job search”. It might sound like this:

“I was researching information online today and ran across an interesting article about Doctors Without Borders. Did you know that ____________?”

Keller also suggests you end your pitch with questions to ask, this prompts your listener to respond and engage, to lead into a conversation. Two questions might be:

“How did you get into your area of work?”

“What do you wish you had known when you graduated from college?”

Craft Your Message

Keller suggests that people think carefully about the message they want to convey to their listeners. Tone of voice and body language should be congruent with the message. For example, you’ll want to be enthusiastic in your tone, stand up straight and look your listeners in the eyes.

Once you’ve written a good two to three minute pitch (be sure to time it), practice with friends and family until it’s down pat. It must be memorized–but presented naturally–that takes practice. It will change over time as more experience is added to your work history.

If you plan to focus on nonprofit work, you will have to add one component to the message–passion–for the nonprofits cause. This passion must be genuine, don’t say you love the efforts of Green Peace, for example, if you don’t support what they do.

For more information regarding elevator pitches, see books by Michael Farr and Richard Bolles, both offer information regarding crafting a professional pitch. Remember, a great elevator pitch will move your career to the top floor!

©2010 Judy Anne Cavey, who resides in the S.F. Bay Area of California, is a credentialed, certified, higher education instructor who taught Work Experience/Cooperative Education and ESL at three community colleges. She is also a freelance writer and grant writer currently authoring a textbook, has designed other learning programs, and worked with several nonprofits. Her Edublog, “Work Experience”, is a not-for-profit endeavor designed to assist job seekers of all ages.