Being able to sell yourself in a short space of time is essential for a successful career. Master the art of the elevator pitch with our six top tips.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is essentially a 30 second sales pitch - in the time it takes to go to the top floor of a building in a lift, you can sell yourself or a concept to a stranger standing next to you.
Whether you’re planning to go into a career in sales or not, it’s vital to be able to sell yourself quickly and confidently. Impressing at interview is a prime example but it's a skill you'll use throughout your life as you have fleeting exchanges with people.
There are entire books dedicated to the elevator pitch, however for now here are six tips to help you sell yourself more effectively.
1. Be passionate
It doesn’t actually matter what you’re currently doing - talk about it passionately and people will respond. They may not share your interest but they will respect your drive and enthusiasm. When you deliver your elevator pitch focus on what makes you tick - not what you think the other person wants to hear.
2. Adapt your pitch
Your elevator pitch is going to be different depending on who you’re meeting and where you’re meeting them. Despite the name, you’re unlikely to ever actually do this in a lift. Selling yourself in an interesting and engaging way is very different if you’re introducing yourself to a firm at a networking event, compared to meeting a friend of a friend in the pub.
In both cases, it’s important to be natural and think about what the other person will respond to in that setting. Discussing your passion for high yield bonds may not be the best topic for post work drinks.
3. Don’t oversell yourself
It’s absolutely fine to sound a little salesy during your elevator pitch – it’s going to be difficult not to as this is essentially what you’re doing. However becoming the pushy salesman is unlikely to hit the right note. Demonstrating confidence in your abilities is excellent but don't let arrogance take over. Be polite, charming and try to have a normal conversation.
4. But don’t sell yourself short
Don’t be embarrassed about what you have or haven't achieved at this point in your life. At the beginning of your career it's sometimes difficult to not be intimidated when talking to someone more senior. Just remember - all your experience is valuable. If you’ve learnt from doing something, it was worthwhile. And if you really don’t have much experience under your belt, the fact you’re trying to put that right makes you stand out.
You don’t want your elevator pitch to sound like a pre-recorded message, but do think through what you’re doing in your life, what you’ve achieved and what makes you stand out. It feels self-indulgent to talk about yourself over and over again, but it’s worth practicing your introduction with family and friends. You’ll be thankful you did when you impress someone important.
6. Leave them wanting more
Your elevator pitch should last no more than a minute - there isn’t time to cover your whole life story. What you do say should leave them wanting to meet you again to find out more and it'll make it easier to suggest connecting online or even organising a follow up meeting.