Leadership

How to craft an irresistible elevator pitch (and deliver it like a pro)

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If you could have a blockbuster movie trailer created about you, what would you want it to say? That's essentially your elevator pitch. Career coach Jenn Dewall explains, "an elevator pitch is a brief summary explaining who you are, and it's a way to get to know someone in a professional way." An elevator pitch is quick, "no longer than 60 seconds. No one will pay attention to anything longer than a minute."

Although we're talking mere seconds, a well-crafted and expertly delivered elevator pitch could be the difference between getting a job or not, or securing a new client or not. If you can speak confidently and eloquently about who you are and what you offer, you're leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

Here's how to craft, and deliver an elevator pitch that will get you noticed.

Step 1: Determine your goals

"Figure out what's important to you and what you want to achieve by presenting your elevator pitch," says DeWall. "The #1 thing to remember about an elevator pitch is that you're offering yourself as a solution to a problem that needs to be solved." HOW are you the solution? In addition, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What do I want to convey?
  2. What's important for my audience to know about me?
  3. What do I want my audience to remember about me?

Step 2: Identify how you want to be remembered

DeWall recommends thinking about this question: "What accomplishments, skills, and strengths do you want to highlight about yourself?" You don't have enough time to recite your entire work experience, or all your interests and skills, instead focus on the highlights, and the things you enjoy talking about most.

Step 3: Draft your pitch

"Actually write it down. Take it outside your head," says DeWall. "Writing your elevator pitch on paper helps you take all your words and ideas and put them into a simple sentence structure." It should be no more than 5-6 sentences to ensure it's less than a minute. As DeWall notes, the goal here is to have it be "quick, but still with some room to leave your audience curious about who you are."

Step 4: Know your audience

Your elevator pitch should be personalized for your audience, similar to how you'd tailor your resume for specific jobs. DeWall recommends thinking about the 2-3 audiences you interact with (ex: companies, clients, potential clients) and personalizing your pitch to each specific audience. Essentially, "different things for different people."

Step 5: Make sure you're not giving everything away

"Think about a powerful way to intrigue your audience," says DeWall, "leave people wanting to know more about what you do and how you do it."

Step 6: Practice

An elevator pitch is only as good as your delivery. Your job is to make your pitch come to life. The best way to ensure a successful delivery is by practice. "Practice it out loud, on your own, saying all the words. Memorize it,"" advises DeWall.

Step 7: Deliver it with confidence

Confidence is a must for delivering your pitch like a pro. Make eye contact with your audience, and be sure your body language is appropriate—aka you uncross your arms. "Own it with a smile. You're introducing yourself, you want to be approachable!"

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Extra credit: Build in an ask

DeWall knows that incorporating an ask into an elevator pitch can be uncomfortable for some, but if you're ready to take your pitch one step further, think about making a direct ask to your audience. It could be something as simple as: "If you're interested in learning more, here's my email address." Or, you could be more direct and say: "Do you know someone who you think I could connect with?"

An elevator pitch is a quick, persuasive speech that savvy people use to garner interest. It's a well-crafted teaser that can make or break your next big opportunity. So prepare and give it all you've got!

This article originally appeared on Glassdoor.

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