You have 30 seconds to describe what you do, its value and build intrigue. Are you ready for the ride?

Marketing guru, Seth Godin, says an ‘elevator pitch’ is designed to ‘…describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.’

The power of a pitch

Whether you’re really in an elevator, or on the phone or in an interview, the power of a punchy elevator pitch can’t be underestimated. A well-crafted pitch can be:

  • extremely useful at a networking event as an icebreaker
  • invaluable in a job interview when you’re asked the inevitable ‘tell me about yourself’ question
  • powerful if asked by a recruiter to summarise yourself in an email
  • helpful to fill the gap if asked what you do on the spot.

Perfecting your pitch

It takes effort to think through your pitch. Never wing it. Instead, use these practical tips to make your pitch memorable.

  1. Write it down and practice

Your elevator pitch should be 25 words or less (two short sentences). It should be in an easy, conversational tone using plain English and avoiding bureaucratic and technical terms.

  1. Practice

Practice makes perfect so read your pitch out loud over and over, at a normal pace, until it sounds natural. If you feel awkward, refine it. Read your elevator pitch to a friend or colleague for their views.

  1. Purpose

You’re not sealing a deal with your pitch but inspiring the listener with something valuable—something that can solve a problem or fill a need. With a recruiter or employer, this can be how your experience and credentials meet job requirements.

  1. Introduce yourself

Always start your elevator pitch by introducing yourself. This will ensure you won’t forget.

  1. State what you do and how you stand out

Your pitch is your chance to stand out in the crowd. Explain what you do. Highlight a specialty and a strength or two.

  1. Focus on what’s important

If you’re working in hospitality while studying your Master’s Degree, don’t say you serve coffee in your pitch when looking for a professional position. You can if applying for a new cafe job, however.

  1. Close your pitch on a high

You don’t want to end your elevator pitch on an awkward note or come across as aggressively selling yourself. Aim to leave the listener wanting to learn more about you, your skills, your services, your products. Tailoring helps. A great way to close would be to engage the person with an open-ended question.

  1. Stand tall

Your amazing elevator pitch will fall flat if you don’t stand tall when delivering. Breathe and deliver with confidence. Smile and be enthusiastic (but not over the top).

Four good and bad elevator pitch examples

IT consultant

Bad

My name is John Doe and I have 10 years of experience in developing highly technical IT applications using a variety of complex software programs and by writing a range of codes and developing solutions.

Good

My name is John Doe and for 10 years I’ve developed ways to use IT to make life easier for clients by solving their problems. I use software programs and write code to create solutions that create change.

Graphic designer

Bad

My name is Mary Jones and I’m a professional graphic designer who excels at visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography and illustration and a variety software programs.

Good

My name is Mary Jones and I help clients create great brands and tell their stories through amazing visuals, effective use of colour and fascinating software programs. Each project I work on is unique and tailored to a client’s vision and culture.

Executive Assistant

Bad

My name is Jane Smith and I have a Cert IV in Business Administration covering topics including HR, finance, accounting, and operations and including strategy and implementation that I now apply for the executive team where I am employed.

Good

My name is Jane Smith and I’m a business administrator who supports the executive team so they can be super-efficient. I have a Cert IV in Business Administration and my strength is predicting what the team needs to complete their tasks.

Other resourceful articles

Making a memorable impression at interview.

How to write a winning resume.

Tips for writing a cracker cover letter.