How to Create a Smooth Elevator Pitch

anonymous person pressing button of lift

Networking opportunities can happen when you least expect them. It could be when you’re in line to grab some coffee, when riding the train, or even while waiting for an elevator.

You never know who you might meet. It could be the company’s CEO, a prospective client, or someone who could help you further your career.

Most people engage in small talk during these unique encounters. After asking how you’re doing and chatting about the weather, an important question gets asked: “What is it that you do?”

It’s a scary moment, but it could also be the one where you change your life. You need to be prepared.

How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch About Yourself

It’s called the “elevator pitch” because 30 seconds or less is the amount of time you would spend together riding to a different floor.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it is all you need to communicate who you are and what you can do.

These steps can help you produce a smooth pitch that can increase the chances of a successful interaction.

1. Begin with a blank canvas.

Think about the ten best things that you do in your career right now. You’ll want to rank them 1-10 on a blank piece of paper. Once you have this list, start filling in the information gaps to communicate information about each one in a single sentence.

What are your goals? What have you achieved? Once you have the most interesting facts about what you do, you’ll have the foundation ready for your elevator pitch.

2. Use the index card methodology.

Journalists ask six key questions whenever they have an interview: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Direct those queries to who you are and what you do. If you create a list under each heading, you’ll develop more information that could be valuable during an elevator pitch.

Since it is impossible to know what option will have the most influence during a conversation, try to write two compelling sentences for each one so that you’re ready for any encounter.

3. Get everything in order.

Your thoughts should be in a logical order. Always lead with the most crucial information or achievement. If you get cut off during this interaction, what is the one thing you want someone to remember about you?

Although some people can ad-lib an elevator pitch, coming prepared for the encounter ensures that your ideas are already organized. If you “wing it,” there’s a greater chance that you could forget something.

4. Grab their attention.

It can be helpful to grab someone’s attention at the beginning of your elevator pitch. It “hooks” the other person into the conversation. It could be an interesting statistic, a fact about yourself, or something that creates intrigue in the conversation.

Why is a hook necessary when creating a smooth elevator pitch? Unless you have something that feels intriguing or interesting, the other person in that conversation will ignore you.

The most time you have to make a first impression is eight seconds. What can you say in that time to buy another 20 seconds to complete your pitch?

5. Edit with a critical eye.

Once you’ve written your first draft of the pitch, start the editing process immediately. The goal is to remove any business jargon, unclear information, and unnecessary verbiage. Since 30 seconds can pass quickly, this pitch should be limited to about 75 words at the most.

Fewer words are usually better when designing an elevator pitch. If you have a lot to say, it’s easier to rush and stumble over what you’re trying to say. If you can keep everything to about four or five high-quality sentences, you’ll deliver an outstanding result.

6. Practice your pitch a few times per week.

After you’ve finished your elevator pitch, ask someone who you trust to listen to what you’ve put together. This individual should be objective so that you receive meaningful feedback for your work. Items that might seem clear to you might feel long-winded or convoluted to an outside observer.

If you’re uncomfortable expressing your pitch verbally, you can run through the content in your head. Try to have your thoughts speak each phrase, visualizing what it would look like when delivering this information to an individual.

7. Record your pitch.

Once you have your pitch streamlined, record yourself giving it. The words you say are only one part of the experience that someone has during this interaction. Your nonverbals, including tone and body language, convey as much (or more!) info about yourself. You’ll also want to hear if you’re repeating words.

8. Practice in the wild.

If you practice at home, you’ll be prepared. When you give your speech in public, even if no one is listening, you’ll gain confidence in this work.

Set aside about 15 minutes each week to review and update your elevator pitch as needed. When you invest in this interaction, you’ll find that it can open lots of doors.

Are You Ready to Have a Smooth Elevator Pitch?

If you stumble over your words while delivering an elevator pitch, your ideas will come across as organized, undeveloped, or unworthy. None of those outcomes are what you want when this opportunity comes along!

That’s why taking the time to organize your thoughts is an investment worth making. When your pitch is smooth and confident, it is easier to create a positive first impression.

These techniques will help you create a polished statement that you can deliver when circumstances permit. You’ve got 30 seconds to make a difference. Will you take it?

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