When I first heard about the elevator speech, my reaction was, ‘what? Do I really need to sound like an ad for myself?’ ‘Am I toffani thanda or because I am worth it?” Somehow it sounded too orchestrated and maybe fake to an extent. However, it was mandatory that I create one for myself (part of a course I was enrolled in and assignment carried passing value).

It’s been 7 plus years since I first heard and created an elevator speech for myself, and I am happy to report that despite my initial hesitation, over the years I worked at polishing it and now have a one liner, that I think states what I do as a life and personal branding coach.

“Hello My name is Nidhi Sharma, I am a life and Personal Branding coach, I work with my clients to take their life from Good to Great.”

For the uninitiated; an elevator pitch/speech is a short summary used to tell about a person or organization in a quick and concise way. Literally in few seconds, as if one was riding in an elevator and had only those few seconds to give out the details on what one does.

This is an important asset for a job search or when meeting a potential client or even a chance meeting with a potential customer. It’s an effective way of telling a potential employer or customer or client, who you are, how you can contribute, and what kind of position you’re seeking and what you can do for them.

Trial and error of doing it for myself and then working with clients to create their elevator speech, here are few suggestions for preparing and presenting your introduction.

  1. Write it down. Even though you’ll usually deliver your pitch out loud, writing it out on paper is a good practice. You’ll be able to tell if it flows well and covers all the essential points.
  2. Keep it brief. You want a pitch that would fit into the average elevator ride of about 30 seconds to 60 seconds. In most cases, that means less than 200 words.
  3. Clarify your goals. Identify what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you’re targeting a specific position at a certain company. Maybe you want to explore a range of opportunities related to teaching chemistry or selling real estate. Whatever it is, must come through.
  4. Quantify your achievements. Summarize your accomplishments. If possible, add in an impressive statistic like how many books you’ve published or certifications you’ve earned.
  5. Focus on your audience. Think about what your listener needs and discuss the benefits you could deliver to them. State your ability to enhance quality, save money, or create more efficient systems. Be prepared with more details in case there are any questions.
  6. Accentuate your strengths. Use a positive statement about your qualifications that focuses on your strengths. During the interview process, you may be asked about your weaknesses, but you can worry about that later.

Presenting Your Elevator Pitch

  1. Invent multiple versions. Adapt your elevator pitch to a variety of circumstances. That way you can respond if you have extra time. You’ll also be able to talk to industry insiders and other professionals who are less familiar with your background.
  2. Rehearse carefully. Practice while looking in a mirror or record yourself. Talking out loud will help you determine if your speech sounds natural. Believe me it takes some time to get used to it and make it sound natural and not Sales Pitchy.
  3. Invite feedback. Ask friends to let you practice on them. Use their suggestions and questions to make adjustments. You may need to speak more slowly or translate industry jargon into language that’s easier to understand.
  4. Stay up to date. Review your pitch on a regular basis. There may be buzzwords that grow stale over time and need to be replaced. Also, you may have earned new credentials that you want to include.
  5. Spend time listening. Watch for the other person’s reactions and listen to their comments. Ideally, you’ll open up a two-way conversation. Pick someone you admire and pay attention to the way they introduce themselves. It could give you some worthwhile ideas.
  6. Exude confidence. Start out with a firm handshake as long as it’s appropriate for the setting and situation. Radiate enthusiasm. Hold your head up high and smile. Make eye contact for a few seconds.
  7. Be prepared. You can use your speech at various places like job interviews, cocktail parties, cricket games, or shopping malls. It’s possible you’ll bump into someone who may have a lead on the kind of position you are seeking or client who may need your services.

An effective elevator pitch arouses people’s curiosity and makes them want to learn more about you and this is the key, Arouse Curiosity. Equip yourself with an introduction that will show your stakeholders, why you would be a valuable addition to their life and the results you can get for them.

If anything working at my elevator speech has brought me a lot of clarity about my own professional standing and what I want to project on to those I interact with for the first time.

(Writer is a Life and Personal Branding Coach and practices in Mumbai, India)

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Taking Life From Good To Great