An elevator speech or elevator pitch is designed to be a synopsis about an individual and what they have done and are doing in their educational and professional careers. The speech is not only supposed to inform the listener, but it should also also pique their interest so they want to know more.
The elevator speech/pitch is thus named because the pitch is supposed to be no longer than the length of an average elevator ride. An excellent pitch gives a great overview of who a person, either as a student or as a professional.
There are seven key steps for ensuring that an elevator pitch is informative and interesting and will help open the door for possible connections and further discussion.
Step 1—Know your audience.
If you’re attending a training or networking event, and you have an idea of what companies and professionals might be in attendance, conduct research to know more about them and what they’re looking for. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach these professionals, and if needed, tweak your pitch to match their interests.
Step 2—Be aware of your self-image.
This step is just as important as the first step because how can you pitch yourself to a professional if you’re unsure of who you are and exactly what you want to do? The best way to figure out who you are is to ask, “What exactly do I want others to know about me?”
Step 3—Outline your pitch.
First, create a basis of what you want to say. Second, draft a thesis statement that will pinpoint major points you want to touch upon throughout your speech. Then ask yourself these four questions:
• Who am I?
• What do I offer?
• What are the main contributions I can make?
• How can I gain a reaction from this speech?
Jot down notes regarding your answers to each of these questions.
Step 4—Craft your pitch.
The construction of the speech is an elaboration of the outline that you created in the previous step. Create a sentence based on the section of notes related to each question. Once you’ve written the sentences, connect them together. This is the rough draft of your speech.
Step 5—Revise your pitch.
First, remove any unnecessary words or sentences. Second, check for grammar mistakes and other mistakes that might cause the speech to sound choppy. Third, make sure that the speech is concise and straight-to-the point.
Step 6—Practice your pitch.
This step is easy. Practice the speech! Make sure that you’re aware of your articulation and intonation, as well as how well the speech flows. Be aware of the amount of time it takes to deliver the speech and revise it accordingly.
Step 7—Deliver your pitch.
The best time and place to deliver the speech is when you’re in a setting with other professionals and you feel as though you have a sufficient amount of time to deliver it. After all, you don’t want the speech to feel rushed.