Have you ever been trapped in a one-on-one with someone you’ve just met, maybe at a networking event, who over-anxiously monopolizes the conversation, making you listen endlessly to their career achievements and goals?
While you’re trying to figure out how to extricate yourself from the agony, you’re thinking, “This guy needs to work on his elevator pitch. I don’t care what he’s selling. I don’t want to get stuck talking to him again.”
When I worked on branding for myself several years ago, I came up with my tagline, “Your unique value proposition . . . differentiated, strategically positioned, helping you land your next great gig.”
I’m still very happy with that statement . . . on paper and web page . . . but it doesn’t make for a smooth verbal introduction of who I am and what I have to offer.
So I worked on my verbal pitch.
I recently introduced myself to someone with a statement similar to this:
“I’m an Executive Branding and Job Search Strategist. I partner with top level executives to define what differentiates them from their competition and strategically position them to land their next great gig.”
The person I was speaking to said, “Just what do you do for your clients?”
At first I thought I hadn’t done a good enough job describing myself. Then I realized, his reaction was just what should have happened. He wanted to know more. He was giving me the opportunity to give him details. Excellent!
Here’s an elevator pitch for an actual client of mine “Tim” . . . for networking, job interviewing and even social events or when introducing himself to people in line at the supermarket:
“I’m a turnaround management expert in the Federal sector. I take on challenges no one in their right mind would touch and transform losers into profitable organizations. People always say, ‘If it’s broke, give it to Tim.'”
Things to keep in mind when crafting your pitch:
- Of course, you can’t work on your message without first working on your executive brand. The exercises in my 10-step branding worksheet will help.
- Just like your executive brand, it’s all about them . . . not you. Build your message around your potential value to your target employers.
- Differentiate yourself through your pitch. If you’re a CIO in high-tech, your message should be unique to you. It shouldn’t fit any other CIO in high-tech. Identify what you’re most known for and most relied on for. What are you the “go to” person for?
- Keep it short and conversational for easy flow — about 10 seconds, at most. These days, everyone is in such a hurry and we all seem to have shorter attention spans.
- Your message should pique people’s interest and compel them to want to know more about you. Give it a punch!
- Practice saying it in front of friends and family. Get their feedback. Practice it by yourself so that saying it becomes second nature and doesn’t sound forced.
photo by Steve Snodgrass