How to Prep Your Elevator Pitch

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We've all been asked some version of the question: "What do you do?" How you answer can open leads to new opportunities or shut the door on any future conversation. You might find yourself droning on, trying to explain all of the details of your work and getting lost in your own origin story. You could also end up blanking on how to explain and end up using the most generic, forgettable descriptor for yourself. Neither one of these scenarios is ideal for growing your network or your clientele. This is what make an elevator pitch so useful.

Having an elevator pitch ready in your back pocket can make all the difference in an unexpected moment of opportunity. Even if you don’t see the moment leading to your career development, whoever is asking about your specialty might be the connection to your next big step. 

As far as what to say, think of your elevator pitch as your verbal business card. You’ve got to highlight the basics in a way that piques the interest of your listener while simultaneously refraining from overwhelming them with information. Think concise and direct as well as inviting. You should be able to give them a good idea of what it is that you do and what makes you different in a somewhat brief description. 

As interested as your new connection might seem, you definitely don’t want to hit them in your life story just yet.


To get yourself started, consider these questions!

1. How do you identify yourself?

Let’s say that you specialize in ceramics for decor. There’s a few ways you could introduce your position: artist, custom crafter, prop designer. Choose a phrase that will stand out in your listener’s mind without being too vague.

2. What makes you unique?

Continuing with our ceramics-example, point out what would make your work preferable to someone else’s. Whether it be super-speedy production or whimsical style, something has got to make your listener think, “Oh, you would be perfect for this project!”

3. Where can you or your work be found?

A small but essential piece to your pitch includes contact information and/or a sample of your work. It can be an online portfolio, a featuring event, or maybe your Instagram! Pick the easiest way for someone to see your work and reach out to you. It might be helpful to have actual business cards or some sort of note for this part but it’s not mandatory. If you’ve got an easy website or event title to remember you could rely on conversation alone. 

Do you feel ready? No? That’s probably because you should consider one more thing!

4. Is your pitch coherent?

Your briefing will always make sense to you because you know the unspoken details. Review your pitch objectively to ensure it would make sense to a stranger.

“Oh, me? I’m a custom crafter. My ceramic sculptures are on display at *insert website or actual location here*...I try to bring some mermaid magic to the setting with my signature fish-scale designs.” 


Your listener should easily be able to tell what you do, why it’s special, and how they can find you/your work. Practice your phrasing, speed, and tone until your pitch sounds informative, interesting, and efficient.

 

Question of the session:

How do you want to stand out? What associations can you use to make yourself easy to remember?