You’ve heard the old adage “you never get a second chance at a first impression”. But the truth is, so many people fail to create a good impression when introducing themselves at a business meeting, networking event, or even a chance encounter.
People often struggle to convey who they are and what they do in their introductions. How often have you been introduced to someone and told their name and job title, but end the exchange no closer to understanding who the person is or what the person actually does? How often have you introduced yourself that way? Take these two illustrations; “I am a Principal IT consultant at Computer Systems”, instead of, “I help blue chip companies find simple and cost effective ways of connecting with their customers through IT.” Which introduction was more informative?
Often overlooked, but it’s crucial to promote yourself, your company or service with a winning introduction to pique the interest of potential clients or employers.
One of the most important things you can learn as a businessperson or professional is how to speak about your business/work to others. Being able to sum up the unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others should be a fundamental skill.
Enter the ‘elevator pitch’ – a quick, concise summation of what you or your company does or makes, delivered with such clarity, that that your mother would be able to understand.
An elevator pitch should last around 30 seconds – the time of average elevator ride. It’s one of the most effective methods you can use to capture the attention of your audience quickly. And it’s not confined to elevators! It can be used in a vast array of situations, so the key is to have a well thought out and rehearsed message to use for introductions, and where a concise presentation is appropriate.
If this article has piqued your interest and you’d like to create a winning pitch to promote your business, service or even your personal brand, the exercises below will help you create a great first impression with impact.
Step one: What’s your purpose?
Think about the reason you strive to achieve the results/or provide the service that you do. What is your guiding compass? This will help you add the ‘seasoning’ and uniqueness to your pitch. Ask yourself the following questions and write down your responses.
What makes me uniquely me?
What is the purpose of what I do?
What is important to me about what I do?
What results do I aim to achieve?
What sets me apart from someone else in a similar role? What is my added value?
What energises and excites me about what I do?
What gives me credibility?
How will people instantly grasp the result I can have for them?
Step two: Crafting your 30 Second Elevator Pitch
Write down your responses to the following questions that will give you the blueprint for your elevator pitch.
Whom do you help through your work (your market)?
What’s the actual service you perform or the products you deliver?
What’s unique about this?
What’s the chief result you bring about for them?
Why is this result important for them?
- Rehearse your pitch on friends, family and colleagues to get useful feedback and also to get used to delivering it.
- Remember, your audience should be able to understand what you do (service/ product), the results you gain, your added value and what’s in it for them.
- Keep in mind – an elevator pitch is intended to pique interest, not tell the whole story or close a sale. When you develop a pitch that has your audience asking for more you’ll know you are on the right track.
Finally, consider this elevator pitch taken from professional speaker Emma Wimhurst’s website: “If you are looking for a passionate, engaging and polished speaker or a professional host for your conference read on. My style is high-energy and infectious combined with in-depth entrepreneurial knowledge and experience. I manage to inspire business owners to take action with my natural enthusiasm and energy.”
Professional coach, Suzanne Simmons-Lewis helps her clients clarify and achieve their true purpose and ambitions in their careers and businesses, drawing out their unique talents. She inspires, supports and challenges clients in their journey to making their long-held dreams an exciting reality.