- There are several different views out there about what constitutes a good personal elevator pitch. However, most agree that the basic structure is simple. You'll create a summary label, define where you've been professionally, where you are currently and a little about where you're going. You'll do all of this in 15 to 20 seconds. Think of this as a quality, verbal extension of your business card. It provides much more information than a business card and much less information than your full resume. But, to be honest with you, it's much more important than your resume.
Your elevator pitch is a form of interpersonal communication that, when done correctly, acts like a catalyst that makes others want to know more about you. Only then do they care about your resume, website, blog, your LinkedIn page and so on. Now, I don't want you to think of this as a sales pitch. Think of it as a quality introduction. Sure, we're always selling a little bit, but the goal with the pitch isn't simply selling. The goal is a lasting connection. By connection I really mean three things.
You want to inform them, possibly help them, and find a way to relate to them. You see the pitch is a great tool, but it needs to be viewed in a slightly larger context. The context of meeting someone and trying to make a productive impression. Of course, the first goal of a pitch is to inform them about who you are as a professional and a little about where you've been and where you're going. Next, I want you to seek to help the person. As you both share some sort of elevator pitch and get to know each other, look for opportunities to help them.
Based on your conversation you might think of a book, blog, or website that could be of use to them. Maybe one of their comments makes you think of a person or professional organization that might be helpful. Beyond informing them about who you are, you're trying to add value when attempting to connect with someone. Finally, when making an initial connection, look for opportunities to relate to the person. Maybe you both love the same football team or enjoy playing golf; maybe you both have teenage children and can relate to the challenges that presents; or maybe you both simply worked for the same company at some point in the past.
Finding one or two things that you both share makes you more relatable and memorable. Let me summarize the goal of using the pitch and trying to make connection with someone. It's not about you trying to gain some benefit now. When you make a connection, you never know exactly when they'll be able to help you or you'll be able to help them. I like to think about it as planting seeds, but not knowing when the seeds will sprout and grow. So this effort isn't so much about any one particular seed. It's about planting as many seeds as possible.