You arrive to the party looking good, ready to meet new people and see familiar faces. Introductions begin with the usual "Hi, my name is [blank]," they give their name and you shake hands. You can likely guess the next sentence/question to emerge from their lips, and you're primed with your auto-response. It is one of the most frequently asked questions during social interactions, particularly in major networking cities: "What do you do?"
You give your prepared "I'm a (fill in profession, title) at (name of organization), blah, blah, blah." This leads to further discussions of the tactical elements involved in your work. Now, the other person gives their redundant pitch. You might exchange business cards and that's the end of it. Has the conversation done anything to pique your or their interest to learn more? Probably not. Here's why and a few tips to spice up your "elevator pitch."
From what I've learned in my Toastmasters International club and being in the media world, the average person is exposed to hundreds of daily advertisements and messages. Attention overload. The public's attention span has shrunk, forcing you to deliver a quicker and more clever message to grab and hold their interest. Toastmasters suggests the "anti-elevator pitch" which will draw your listener(s) into curiosity and prompt them to ask a question. Basically, you tell people exactly what you do but not how you do it. Here are a few examples:
"I make someone's day more special." (Florist)"
We sell excitement." (Car salesman or travel agent)
"We make sure you never forget." (Photographer)
- "You dream it up, we make it happen." (Graphic designer)
When sharing your pitch, let it land in silence first. Give them a few seconds to absorb the message and respond.
The anti-elevator speech may take some thinking, practice and tweaking but it's worth a try. At the end of the day (good pitch or not), people work with who they like and deem trustworthy.
By Nicole Hayes
Nicole Hayes brings a strong background in consumer outreach, partnership development and media relations to McKinney & Associates. Many of her communications strategies were cultivated during her work with international public relations agency Fleishman Hillard Inc., where she developed and implemented strategies and media relations outreach for large consumer and government clients.
With her skilled foundation, Nicole sought a career to support her core belief that people make the best investments and launched her own D.C.-based media relations consultancy, Pieces of Life, to serve small businesses and non-profit organizations. She is committed to the mission that drives McKinney and its clients.