The Elevator Pitch: What it is & why you need one

8 February 2017

You’re trapped in a crowded lift, desperately watching the floors climb up and praying the next one is yours. You sigh as the lift draws to a halt a few storeys short, shuffling yourself backward to make space for another tired commuter.

But wait! In walks a cloud of white-blonde hair, a warm, wide smile; a recognisable voice booms out at you and says ‘Good morning, sorry for holding up the lift! Where are you off to today?’ Your eyes suddenly wake up and realise – ‘that’s Richard Branson! How do I introduce myself?’

And that’s when the elevator pitch comes into play – a 30-second message that summarizes who you are, what you do and why you’d be the perfect person to work with – all within the time it takes to reach the top of the building.

It’s the perfect quick-fire solution to introducing yourself or your company, neatly condensing years of experience and accomplishments into a few punchy sentences. Although not all of us will be lucky enough to bump into Richard Branson on the off chance, the elevator speech can come in handy at networking events and during new business approaches, when you have to quickly pitch and persuade.

Here are our top tips for pinning down the most important details of your experience:

1.       Put pen to paper

Write down absolutely everything that you consider to be relevant to you current job, including what you like and dislike, what you’d enjoy doing more of, and where you’d like to be in the future. Then, take a pen and scribble out everything that isn’t absolutely necessary to include in a 30 second speech – be ruthless, and take time to consider which accomplishments and skills matter the most to a potential employer or client. For businesses, consider the most important functions of your company, what you strive to perform and offer, and how your success sets you apart from the competition.

2.       Hit the target

Define your job title, what you consider to be the most important aspects of your role or business, and what you hope to achieve in the future - Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for? Be concise, and really focus on the information that you feel would grab attention and benefit your likelihood of landing that dream job or client. This sentence will become the introduction to your speech, and will sound something like: ‘Hi, I’m John Smith from The Big PR Agency. I’m a PR with 15 years of experience in a consumer agency and I’m looking for in-house opportunities with an FMCG company/ I would love to help you with your 2017 communication strategy’. This should take about 10 seconds, and the rest of the time should be used to present your unique skillset and impressive experience.

3.       Know your audience

Whatever your ideal job or business partnership is, it’s likely that the potential employer or client already has a checklist of qualities and experience in mind. Tailor your speech to this, and play to their needs, using industry-specific terms that will capture attention and convince the audience to engage.

4.       Practise

Read it aloud, and make sure it sounds like a natural flow of conversation, rather than a rigid, memorised paragraph. Rehearse it in front of a mirror and to your friends and family, and ensure that your delivery engages the listener.

If you would like any more information on the communications market, or are looking to hire or find a new opportunity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! For our latest news and updates, follow JFL on LinkedIn or Twitter @JFLrecruit.