Few skills are more important in this age of info-overload than delivering a knock-out elevator speech – on demand.
You have got to have one. You have 30 seconds. Go!
Summing up the unique aspects of what it is that you do – in a way that excites others – is a fundamental skill, whether you are raising funds for the local soup kitchen, speculative capital for a risky start-up, or just selling yourself.
You can have a jaw-dropping logo, the perfect slogan, the most dazzling brochure and hottest Web site … even a great smile. But if your elevator pitch is out of date, you’ll swing and miss.
The tried-and-true elevator speech takes upfront practice to get it right, and ongoing work to keep it sharp.
The 3 Keys To An Elevator Speech
Here are the three main components of every good one.
1) Introduce Yourself
Lead by explaining who you are and what you do. The key is to be as attention grabbing as possible. You want to make an impression without being over the top or sounding contrived, so forget those B-Sy titles like Legacy Paradigm Architect.
The person you are speaking to may meet many C-level execs – but has he or she ever met a Chief Happiness Officer? If that works for you, go for it.
2) Define Your Contribution
Think of this like you would your resume – no one wants a laundry list of things you do all day. Instead highlight a few major ways you contribute and how they impact your company.
3) Offer Your “Positioning Statement”
Marketers do this all the time to promote their brands – you need to do one for yourself as well. Think of it as a mission statement for your networking.
Crafting the perfect position statement may be the most important step. It takes time and is the one part of the elevator speech that is always be evolving.
So, it helps to break it down into four parts.
- Define your target market: Who can you provide value to?
- Define the market you play in: Are you a b-to-b or a b-to-c, nonprofit, etc.
- Identify the promise of your brand: What value do you provide to those in your network?
- Offer the Reason to Believe the brand promise: Not everyone will accept the value you offer because you say so. You don’t need to go too far to make your case, but you should definitely offer a little evidence to support your promise.
Note: Your positioning statement may be different depending on the particular purpose of the networking situation you find yourself in. For instance, if you’re hoping to land a job rather than looking to expand your resource base, you may chose to highlight different things. In time, you may develop a handful of mission statements for differing situations.
Now Get Out There And Talk To Them
Once you’ve determined who you’ll talk to, where and what you’ll say, it’s time to take the next step: Get out there, find them and talk to them.
While you don’t want to sound too scripted, it’s important to sound polished. Spice your pitch with these high-impact words:
- gain, and
Just a quick reminder. Successful people have been around the block a few times. They have seen (and lived) a few ups and downs. They can spot an over-promising neophyte from a mile away. So yes, make it new and exciting.
But always keep it real.