Develop Your Elevator Pitch
Do you know how long it takes for people to form impressions about you?
A study by Michael Solomon (PhD), a Psychologist in the Marketing Department of the Graduate School of Business, New York University posited that people make eleven decisions about us in the first 7 seconds of contact. Among other areas, this “first impression” includes perceptions about our educational and economic levels, how credible we are, our ethnic background, social/professional/sexual desirability and level of success. This position is popularly known as “The 7/11 Rule”. Though many individuals have questioned the accuracy of this rule – calling it an “urban myth”, there are loads of evidence to suggest that people easily and quickly make judgements about others even with only a limited amount of information available. However, it is important to note that people’s conclusions about us – no matter how inaccurate or completely wrong they might be – definitely affect their decision to accept us and ultimately buy anything we have to offer.
As you reflect on what you just read, imagine yourself as a product.
Like every product, it’s important to sell yourself well at every given opportunity. This will enable people to form the right impressions about you when they meet you. Knowing that you have just one shot at making a good first impression, it is imperative to develop a good Elevator Pitch about yourself.
What’s an Elevator Pitch?
The term is based on the idea that you only have a few seconds to engage someone in a meaningful conversation when you’re riding an elevator. It’s actually meant to be shorter than an elevator ride – that is, 30 seconds or less. While it’s particularly common among entrepreneurs looking for funding, the concept also applies to selling your personal brand; whether to introduce yourself and/or land a job opportunity. In this fast-paced, internet age – where everything seems to place a demand on your audience’s attention, you need to skillfully craft and master a short and precise pitch to grab their attention. This could earn you the top-of-the-mind recall you desire from them. According to a Molecular Biologist of the University of Washington School of Medicine – John Medina, the human brain craves meaning before details. So aside from the constraint of time, your elevator pitch should contain just enough information about you to spark interest from your listener. Once they get the essence of your personality and what you have to offer they should ask for more.
I strongly believe everyone should have an elevator pitch and here are 3 reasons why:
- It Prepares You for Unexpected Opportunities
During my days in elementary and secondary school, I knew about the Boy Scouts organization which was originally for boys within the ages of 11 to 15 years. I particularly like the slogan of the organization which simply says Be Prepared. As I grew, I understood that opportunities in life are more easily seized by those who are prepared. Having a personal elevator pitch is one sure way to prepare to sell yourself whenever the occasion arises. You never know when you’ll meet someone who could offer you a “breakthrough opportunity”. You should be ready to highlight the value you provide in the shortest time frame possible.
- You Leave a Lasting Impression On People
As mentioned earlier, people form their impressions about you in seconds. With your elevator pitch, you have the chance to present your personal brand and highlight the value you can provide quickly. Doing so will greatly influence what your listeners think about you for a long time. This way, they are most likely to remember you better, decide on the possibility of building a relationship with you and even easily associate you with potential opportunities within their reach.
- People Can Retell Your Story
Have you ever looked forward to watching a movie just because a friend – who hasn’t seen the movie too – told you about a one-minute trailer s/he saw? Your friend could tell you about the movie because the filmmaker presented a short clip carefully edited to highlight the main features of the movie. Your elevator pitch is like that filmmaker’s short trailer. When you have it well crafted, it will help people understand you and what you can offer enough to tell your story to others. Your pitch gives them the vocabulary they need to spread the word about you. If you cannot articulate your value in simple terms, they most likely cannot do it for you before others.
So I’m challenging you today – If you’re really serious about networking and making the best of your access to people, craft an elevator pitch for yourself. It might take a while to come up with a persuasive presentation, but start today and you are on your way to making a compelling “sales pitch” about your brand.
Remember, You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT!