Imagine this: your alarm blares, you roll out of bed and do your morning routine – workout, breakfast, coffee – and rush to your office.
So far, it’s an ordinary, weekday morning, until you enter the elevator and you see him or her…
The angel investor you’re sure will love your startup.
The CEO of your dream company.
That woman you met once, a long time ago at a conference… and who works in the company you want to start working for. She’d be a great connection to have!
Whoever it is, you’re in the elevator and eye-to-eye with the person that can take your career to the next level.
You’re racing against the clock. There isn’t much time.
In a few seconds this person you’ve never imagined you’d meet face-to-face will reach their floor – and step out of the elevator.
This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for – you think, “what should I say?”
You have trouble even imagining starting a conversation – let alone pitching yourself or your project.
You don’t have an elevator pitch.
How to write an effective elevator pitch in five easy steps
Do you ever find yourself in a situation where someone asks what you do or asks about your goals and you don’t know what to say?
I won’t let this happen to you ever again. After this video, you’ll write an engaging elevator pitch.
But first, what is an elevator pitch anyway?
An elevator pitch is a short intro that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator to the VIP’s floor.
A successful elevator pitch should engage your listener and explain who you are and what you do in 30 -seconds or less.
In fact, many people say 10 seconds or less.
The purpose of the pitch isn’t necessarily to persuade others to hire you on the spot or invest in your app or startup – it’s to offer something so tantalizing that it starts a conversation.
Okay, so how do you use an elevator pitch?
How to use an elevator pitch
You don’t need to be in an elevator to deliver your elevator pitch.
A well-written and well-rehearsed pitch can come in handy during any situation where you have little time to introduce yourself to your VIP.
An elevator pitch is useful during the following scenarios:
- Job Fairs – having a top-notch pitch gives you confidence to introduce yourself to hiring managers.
- Networking events and mixers – have your pitch ready, you never know who you might meet.
- Social Media – you can even use your elevator pitch in your social media bios or summaries.
Use your elevator pitch on a plane, in a train, in the rain; on the docks, in a box, with a fox – well, you get the idea…
What are the steps to writing an elevator pitch?
#1: Find your hook
Step 1. Start your pitch with a “hook.” A hook is a unique and memorable way to make sure your listener keeps listening.
Your hook can be a question, an interesting fact, or something that gets your listener’s attention.
#2: Identify the problem
Step 2. Be sure you’ve identified and understand your listener’s problem.
For example, as a language coach, a lot of my students first see me because they’re stuck at the “intermediate plateau” – which we’ve talked about in other episodes.
Their problem is that they want to feel like they’re progressing, and gain fluency, faster.
My pitch might start out like this –
“Have you ever tried learning a language but got to a point where you felt like you’re up against a brick wall and have stopped learning anything new? This is normal, it’s called the ‘intermediate plateau.’ I help my students break through that wall and get on the path to fluency.”
#3: Give a solution
Step 3. It’s time to give a solution to your listener’s problem. This is where you get to talk about your product, service, business, or experience – and be sure to add value.
In my pitch, I’d continue by explaining who I am and what I do. Then, I’d provide some insight into how I do it. It’s these details that will help you distinguish yourself and make your message more memorable.
#4: Show some traction
Step 4. It’s time to convince your prospect and show off your success. If you’re an established business, you can use this section of your pitch to tell your listener how long you’ve been running your business.
You can also use this section to highlight brands, customers, or companies you’ve worked with to give credibility and build trust.
In the last step, it’s time to close your pitch with a clear request Your ask might be an opportunity to interview for a job or maybe get a business referral. Make sure your ask is as specific as possible.
One quick note – a question is particularly a smart opening because it invites the listener to engage with you. By responding “yes” or “no” it allows a conversation to unfold… So let’s review my example pitch.
Christina’s Example Elevator Pitch
“Have you ever tried learning a language but got to a point where you felt like you hit a wall and stopped learning anything new? This is normal, it’s called the ‘intermediate plateau.’ I help my students break through that wall and get on the path to fluency. Since 2004, I’ve personally coached hundreds of clients – 90% of them have gone on to speak English fluently in business settings. Students say my English lessons are practical and fun – so, can I design a customized lesson for you based on your unique situation?”
Practice makes perfect
Now that you’ve written your pitch, practice – practice – practice!
Practice by yourself, in front of a mirror – and then later with family and friends.
Don’t stop there – family and friends are supportive and likely know what you’re trying to say. Once you feel comfortable, practice your pitch with people you don’t know very well. They’re more likely to give you objective feedback.
Something to remember…
You want your pitch to sound natural, not like a speech you memorized! So you have to get really comfortable with it… practice makes perfect!
Avoid common blunders with your elevator pitch, such as:
- Talking too fast
- Stilted, unnatural speech
- Avoid industry jargon
- Check your body language
When you deliver your pitch, think about what you’re saying. Simply reciting words isn’t convincing enough, be in the moment with your pitch. Be yourself. You can do this.
Now, what about you?
Imagine your in the elevator with a person who can help advance your career. Who are they? And what do you say to them? Formulate your pitch in the comments. You never know who will read your pitch!
And if you want to practice your pitch with other motivated members of the Speak English with Christina community, and our Fluency Club leaders Cara and Trisha, join our Faster Fluency Conversation Club.
It’s our speaking practice membership program to help you increase your vocabulary and become more confident in conversations.
Thank you for learning with Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!
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