An elevator pitch is a quick speech that summarises who you are and what your purpose is. It is a way to share your expertise and qualifications quickly and effectively with people who don’t know you.
Done right, this short speech helps you introduce yourself to career and business connections in a compelling way. It can help you build your network, land a job, or connect with new colleagues on your first day of work.
The reason for its name is obvious: Your speech should be short enough to present during a brief encounter. The elevator pitch only lasts for around 30 seconds. In this short amount of time, you will explain the most relevant parts of your professional background, experience and purpose.
An elevator speech is a great way to gain confidence when you are introducing yourself to hiring managers and company representatives. If you are job hunting, you can use your elevator pitch when calling employers or hiring managers about job openings or sending out unsolicited job applications.
It is also very useful to have a little speech prepared for your next job interview. Hiring managers often begin the job interview with the question: “Tell me about yourself”. You should think of your elevator pitch as a super condensed version of your response to that request. You can also use a written version of your elevator pitch at digital job fairs or in your LinkedIn summary.
What to say
Although it may seem like an easy task, it is easier said than done to boil down all your experience to less than a minute. So here is a quick guide to how you can prepare your elevator pitch.
Remember, you do not need to tell your whole life story. Use a timer when you are writing your speech and make sure you only include the most relevant information related to your purpose.
Your elevator pitch should answer the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do and why are you passionate about what you do?
- What do you want – what is your goal of this pitch?
Summarise what you do
With little time, your speech should be compelling enough to spark the listener's interest. Explain who you are and what qualifications you have. Include the most relevant information such as your education, work experience and/or any key specialties or strengths. Try to focus on assets that add value to the organisation or person you are talking to. Provide examples of results you have achieved or companies you have worked in.
Practice, practice, practice
The best way to feel comfortable about giving an elevator speech is to practice it. You should learn it by heart so it sounds natural. The more you practice, the easier it will be to deliver it without being nervous. Try not to speak too fast, and remember to smile and look the listener in his or her eyes.
Finish with a call to action
Finally, you should round off your speech mentioning what you're looking for – your goal of the speech. For instance, you might say that you are trying to relocate to Copenhagen with a job as a frontend developer in the IT industry. The call to action is not necessarily to get a job, but to ask for a coffee meeting where you can discuss future opportunities at the company.
Know your audience
…and speak to them. Target your elevator pitch to the person you are speaking to. Keep it simple, focused, and avoid information that is not relevant.