Craft a Good Elevator Pitch

Aptly named, an elevator pitch or elevator speech is a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the time it takes someone to ride in an elevator. This skill is an invaluable resource to have when networking. By being able to communicate who you are and your assets quickly and effectively, you’ll ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.

In seeking employment, an elevator pitch can be a successful networking tool that will allow you to make introductions with potential employers without handing over a resume. Its short nature means that your words are going to be memorable, so the better you get at delivering it, the more convincing you’ll be when saying it.

It’s just like memorizing anything else, and as a transitioning service member, you’re no stranger to remembering codes of conduct, regulations, and credos. The challenge can be determining what to include in an elevator pitch; it’s a short statement, so making sure to include the most pertinent information is key.

Start with a blank sheet of paper, and number it from one to ten. List out the most important pieces of information you want to convey about yourself, your time in service, or your goals. Remember to keep these to a maximum of two lines a piece.
Next, take a red pen to the list. Eliminate redundancies and unnecessary information. Refine your language to be specific to the industry you’re targeting. Most importantly, enhance the admirable traits, qualities, and skills that you’ve listed. Be specific, because that’s what’s going to get attention.

Now that you’re clear on the components you want to include, label five index cards with the following: Who I Am, What I Do, How I Do it, Why I do It, Who I do it For. Take a look back at your list and add each item to the card that fits it best. Ideally, you’re aiming for two statements under each of these headers.

Place these cards in order that makes the most sense to you; make sure the important critical information is first. Remember that an elevator pitch is only a few seconds; what do you want the person to remember you saying?

Finally, add an interesting fact or statistic to use at the beginning of your pitch. Your goal here is to immediately engage someone to learn more.
With your cards in order, you need to practice. Memorize the cards and then give your elevator pitch to someone who can be objective. What might make sense to you could be really long-winded to someone else.
Refine and repeat until you have the perfect elevator pitch that suits you and your goals.

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