With all the networking opportunities that take place at this time of the year it seemed appropriate to write about a communications tool that you should have readily available … your elevator pitch.
The term “elevator pitch” comes from big city opportunities where chance encounters in elevators gives you about 30 to 90 seconds to deliver a summary of your business to a potential customer.
Learning how to speak succinctly about your business is one of the most important things that every businessperson should develop. Yet there are many who pay little attention to the impact this fundamental skill can have on their business.
Elevator pitches are not an exercise in memorization. They are something that should be able to convey the passion and excitement you have for your business, and how what you do can help the person you are speaking to. When they are delivered they should be presented in a manner that is conversational and not some monotone speech that sounds like something you had to memorize in elementary school.
Developing an elevator pitch revolves around answering a few questions. However the key is that they must be answered within a very short time frame. This means that every word and phrase must be crafted so that they have maximum impact.
You know your business better than anyone else so when someone asks, “What do you do?,” the first step in responding with your elevator pitch is to develop answers the following questions:
1. What is your company? (For example, you might begin with “I operate a marketing and communications …)
2. What do you do? (That provides expertise in the areas of … )
3. Who do you do it for? (For any company or organization …)
4. Why do you do it? (So that they can focus on … )
5) What is different about you? (Unlike some other companies I can take an integrated approach to …)
There are a few questions that you can add at the conclusion of your pitch but you are not the one who will answer them. They are … “How does your company deal with marketing and communications?” and finally, “How can I help you?”
This may sound very simple but the hardest part is getting it down to the point where your answers can be given in 90 seconds or less. It requires a lot of editing so that your message can be clearly understood and generate interest. Another important aspect of its development is to rehearse your pitch in front of family, friends and associates.
Once you have perfected your pitch it should be able to explain what you do, communicate your unique selling proposition, engage your audience with a question and above all make them want to find out more about what you can do for them.
Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.