To Pitch or Not to Pitch: Part 1
- In an upcoming workshop I’ll be helping participants prepare and practice their elevator pitches, as well as offering an alternative approach to talking about what you do with people who could be potential leads or connect you to opportunities. Here is some of what I’ll be going over:
- Elevator Pitches are not everyone’s favourite things to work on. Some feel embarrassed to “sell” themselves or market their business one on one. There are definitely Pros and Cons to this well-known marketing tool! In this post we will look at three big benefits:
- Creating an elevator pitch forces you to describe your goals in precise terms – which is very helpful not only for your listener- but also for you. In choosing the words that best express who you are, what you do (or want to do) and why, you are also gaining clarity on your vision and purpose.
- When we are embarking on a new venture, starting a new career or beginning a new stage in our lives, its normal to have a fair amount of fear or anxiety. Will people believe this new business is legit? Will they believe in my skills? (And do I?) It can be hard to declare your new title or new business name with confidence- you may find yourself tripping over your words and feeling foolish as you speak. Creating a short “pitch” and practising it can help you own it- so that when YOU tell people what you are all about- you sound like you mean it. But practice is key here! Did I mention you should practice?
3. Being Prepared:
- You never know when opportunity will arise. Hence the term “Elevator Pitch”- Quick! You are stuck in an elevator with a potential investor / CEO / major potential customer- make it count! Whether it’s a formal networking event where you are asked to introduce yourself, or you simply meet the right person at the right time- it will calm your nerves to have this handy speech that summarizes your goals.
- So that’s pretty clear- An Elevator Speech is a good thing to spend some time crafting and practicing. Some quick tips:
- Keep it short, to the point, and own it. Different formulas will work best for different situations (whether you are talking about your own business, or trying to find a new career opportunity) but in general you should follow a WHO, WHAT, WHY pattern. “Hello everyone, I’m Carol, and I’m an addiction’s counselor. I’m looking for opportunities to reach young people and help them get on the right track.”
- If you are in business, you should also mention who your services or products are for – your target market. The “why” part of the pitch includes your value proposition (the specific benefits you offer): “Hi! I’m Mike, and I design websites for the fashion industry. I like creating platforms to help local designers reach a broader audience.”
- Use straightforward language that isn’t too flowery or over- the-top. You want to come across as sincere and sure of what you have to offer. No need to oversell it!
- Common problems people have when giving a pitch are either a) being too long or b) being unprepared for the questions that may come after. You can use the extra information you did not include in your short pitch to follow up when your audience is interested.
- Which brings us to the downside of the Elevator Pitch- it can seem fake, pushy, or does not lead to a productive conversation. While there are definitely situations where it can come in handy- there is an alternative approach that is both more authentic and more flexible.
- And you can read about this approach- Talking Points– here!