“Trapped! Help! Get me out of here!”
I bet you’ve felt that way when you’ve asked someone at a party “What do you do?” and that person proceeds to ramble on aimlessly. You know, the type that evokes the old, “looking-over-the-shoulder-for-someone-else-to-talk-to” response.
This happened to me recently at a business-networking event – ironic, since business-networking events are one place you’d expect people to come prepared with an “elevator pitch” (the brief summary of what someone does, and why someone else should care).
When I found myself standing beside a woman who obviously wanted to talk with me, instead of a succinct summation of what her company does and how its service/product might help me, my “What do you do?” elicited the exact opposite. She simply went on and on.
Once I was able to extract myself I found myself thinking, “Nice enough woman, no elevator pitch. And if she wants to get my business, or anyone else’s, she really needs to create that perfect pitch.”
The encounter prompted me to think about what tips I would suggest to her (or anyone else) to help develop that essential bit of business communication: the elevator pitch.
How To Achieve Your Perfect Elevator Pitch
Pitching The Elevator Pitch
You need an elevator pitch (so named because it should take no longer than an elevator ride) because it is a quick way to express the essence of what it is you do, and why someone needs your services.
Understanding The Elevator Pitch
Your elevator pitch should be concise, easy to understand, and have an implicit call-to-action. In other words, your elevator pitch must arouse the curiosity of your target audience, and offer a reason as to why your services are desirable.
Crafting The Elevator Pitch
You know what you do. But can you explain it, clearly, and quickly (in thirty to sixty seconds) to someone else? If not, start crafting your elevator pitch by writing down what it is you do, and what you are trying to promote or sell. Rewrite until you think your pitch is concise, clear and attention grabbing. Then, practice saying it out loud. Give it a test run with a trusted colleague for some feedback on how you might focus it even more tightly. Ultimately, memorize your elevator pitch – but practice delivering it in a natural sounding manner.
The Language Lab’s Elevator Pitch
“At the Language Lab we help companies save money by improving the poor business communication skills, both oral and written, of their executives and employees. We work online and face-to-face with native and second language (ESL) speakers to improve their professional image, and to help them move up the corporate ladder.”
What I’ve tried to do in my elevator pitch is explain what The Language Lab does, and also indicate some of the benefits my company provides for businesses who choose to work with me. (I save them money, and I help their employees move up the corporate ladder.) All that, and it only takes me about twenty seconds to say it.
Now, if only that woman at the networking event I attended had stopped talking long enough for me to get a word in edgewise I might have actually made my pitch. If, that is, I had ever been able to figure out what she did!
Need some help crafting your elevator pitch? Contact me by emailing The Language Lab.