Revive Your Elevator Pitch
Is your pitch a little stale? I summarize some tips I have received from workshops, mentors, and articles from Forbes and Business Insider.
An elevator pitch is basically a brief explanation of who you are and define your skills in the length of an elevator ride, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
The basic components of an elevator pitch are:
Introduction (Who are you?)
What you do (Skills)
What you want (Job? Internship?)
Call to Action (Mentorship, Contact Info, Interview)
Its components are pretty simple to execute.
However, I have a mentor that believes that the elevator pitch is dead. He believes it can be too rehearsed, robotic, impersonal, and standard. Marketing students recite the same words: “content creation,” “social media marketing,” “strategy,” and “analytics.” And many opinion pieces share the same sentiment.
So, drawing from two articles and my mentor’s list of grievances against the elevator pitch, below are two things to be mindful about so that you can craft an elevator pitch that will be more engaging and exciting for employers.
Your Pitch is not a Static Thing
Do you have your elevator pitch memorized word for word?
Forget it. Forget it all right now. Brandon Klein, Forbes Council Member, writes in Forbes's Creating a Sales Conversation:
A pitch is always a one-way presentation...no one benefits from one-way communication.
This one-way communication makes it robotic and rehearsed. If you are only talking about yourself, you won't know what the employer needs and how you can help. So to make sure that your pitch is not rigid and stale, Klein emphasizes that we need to listen; listening makes it more personal and respectful. Klein goes on to say:
The human factor that should be considered is the universal desire to be heard and to connect with others in a meaningful way...focus instead on creating two-way conversations focused on mutual value.
If you approach employers with the goal of building a connection, the experience won't seem impersonal and transactional. In the end, both people will have enjoyed the interaction more.
Tailor Your Pitch
Max Nisen provides alternative elevator pitch formats in The Elevator Pitch is Dead.
While rhyming and the one word pitch would be fairly awkward to deliver at a networking event (these are great for product and services), the question pitch, subject line pitch, and the pixar pitch caught my attention. Combining these formats can be a powerful formula.
The Question Pitch
When you start with a question, you can find out how you can add value. In this pitch format, I introduce myself and focus on a skill that I think suits the prospective employer most. Then I ask: "what are your current marketing needs?"
The question pitch works best if you have done enough research on the company to have a sense of what they need but need to know more about what they actually want.
The Subject Line Pitch
While Nisen names the subject line pitch in relation to emails, I think you can use its variations at different points during your interaction with a prospective employer. If starting with a subject-line approach, I usually approach it in this order:
To spark curiosity, I begin just as I would with the question pitch, by stating a skill or experience, but as a way to build credibility. Afterwards, to create utility, I suggest a way that they could improve an aspect of their marketing strategy or cite a research or statistic that could inform or alter their current strategy.
And finally, I get specific. I tell them exactly how I would help. This format adds value and makes one memorable.
The Pixar Pitch
Storytelling is a great way to gain curiosity, maintain interest, and be memorable. This is probably the most difficult format to make and is somewhat static and memorized. However, one way to tailor it is to remember that one story does not fit all. I prepare stories about experiences that I have had that highlight skills that are relevant to the company and that I perceive to be most valuable to them based on my research. This format usually flows organically out of the conversation that is set up from the first two formats.
So, all of this seems like a lot of work. But you are only drawing from your own experiences and skill set. No one knows you better than you! Just remember to be sincere, research, and approach prospective employers with the mindset that you want and can help them.