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Veterans Get Your Business Career Ahead with An Elevator Pitch

Career Advancement

Have you ever been in a situation where you meet a former co-worker or client and the topic turns to what you’re doing now? Are you someone who knows exactly what to say, or are you someone who looks like a deer caught in headlights?

To be the former rather than the latter, you want to have an awesome elevator pitch.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch (sometimes called an elevator speech or an elevator statement) is a brief (but persuasive) speech that is designed to tell someone about yourself and your organization. An ideal pitch be no more than 30 seconds, but others suggests you can even go as long as 60 seconds.

Elevator pitches are essential for effective networking, especially in the modern era where everyone loves to leverage themselves online as a thought leader. A great elevator pitch can help you stand out from the crowd and implement truly effective networking efforts. Don't think networking is important? Think again - a recent study showed that 85% of critical jobs are filled via networking of some sort.

How Do You Create a Good Pitch?

A recent guide on elevator pitches, curated by Northeastern University's Online MBA program, suggests that when you are crafting your pitch, suggests your pitch should include 4 things:

  1. Goals -- Your goals should be clearly stated in your pitch. If you are trying to draw interest to the project you’re working on, you’ll want to talk about it. If you’re trying to get a job offer, tailor your pitch to talk about your qualities and past experience. It can help if you create an outline on paper to help organize your thoughts.

  2. Persuasive -- The whole point of one of these speeches is to draw interest into your work, your company, or even yourself. While you don’t want to come off as a braggart, your pitch is supposed to make the person want to know more. Paint a picture using emotional triggers rather than logic.

  3. Benefits -- The point of these statements is just to highlight what you have to offer; it’s to tell the person how they can benefit from employing you, buying your product, or donating to your cause (or whatever your goal may be). You can talk about how others have benefitted in the past from you or your services. If you have statistics to back this up, (i.e., “Last time, 1,500 people signed up for XYZ service as a result of the new marketing strategy I worked on.”). Don’t be afraid to use them.

  4. Open-Ended Questions -- End your speech with an open ended question that’ll keep the conversation flowing. This will give the other person the chance to ask questions and learn more about you or your work.

Before giving your pitch to someone, you should practice reciting your pitch in the mirror. By practicing it, you’ll be able to regulate how quickly you speak (you don’t want to talk too quickly), fine tune your pauses, and reorganize your thoughts if it doesn’t flow properly. Your pitch should flow easily and freely. The more you practice, the more the speech will feel like a natural conversation, rather than the rehearsed speech it actually is.

Also, don’t be afraid to edit your pitch if it goes over that 60-second time limit. If there are industry- or company-exclusive terminology, or buzzwords used in the pitch, you’ll want to edit them out because you can’t expect outsiders to understand what these words mean, and, as Forbes points out, you don’t want to make the other person feel dumb for not knowing what you’re talking about.

When Should an Elevator Pitch Be Used?

Contrary to the name, you don’t have to only use these pitches while waiting in an elevator. These pitches can be used at networking conferences, career expo, job fairs, and other gatherings of a professional nature.

A compelling and persuasive elevator pitch can be an incredible tool to help people gain interest in your business, your organization, or even yourself. It can be a little intimidating giving your speech to someone for the first few times. However, with plenty of practice and a lot of confidence, who knows where that 30 to 60 second speech can take you!

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