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How-to: The Elevator Pitch – ten top tips

The Elevator PitchArticle originally appeared as The elevator pitch – ten top tips  at Philippa’s site Speaking well in Public

The elevator pitch: Your fascinating, graceful and – above all – short answer to ‘and what do you do?’

My top ten tips for creating and using an effective elevator pitch for business and social introductions:

  1. What are your core values? What do you stand for and believe in?
    Do the groundwork first – if you haven’t nailed this you may not yet feel entirely confident and comfortable presenting yourself and your business, and so will find it harder to inspire their confidence.
  2. Your job title will mean little to them – what do you actually do?
    Just like the top of your Linked In profile, your elevator pitch is a little advertisement for you and what you do. A grandiose job title may not capture the attention you want, while a clear and straightforward description of what you do will get the message across. Try brainstorming words and phrases and see what resonates most.
  3. Spark interest with a simple, powerful hook – ‘I help people find the courage to speak.’
    Can you tweet what you do? Honing a loose ramble into a crisp 140 characters is a great exercise for bringing your message into focus.
    And your Twitter name and description is just the place to get your statement out there before you even start saying it.
  4. They’re thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’ – so how could you benefit them?
    Most of us like to know if something could be useful, so think ‘what does this group of people need to hear from me right now?’ Research your audience – whether you’re going to a high stakes conference or a little local business breakfast, think ‘what would they most like to hear?’ Considering what keeps them up at night and being the solution could be the key to your next client.
  5. KISS (keep it short and simple). This isn’t the place for your entire CV!
    No-one has time to sit and listen patiently to a one-sided run-down of your entire career. The absolute highlights of what you do and what you’ve done, and only those that will be of interest.
  6. Practice it in the shower, in the park, to people you trust, record yourself – how does it sound?
    Writing it out is all very well, but we don’t speak as we write and these things need to be heard. You’ll feel a bit silly to start with, but anything new feels weird at first and the more you practice the smoother it will sound and the easier it will get. You’ll then appear relaxed and confident about the way you talk about yourself, which is half the battle.
  7. Seek out opportunities to try it out – networking events, business and social groups.
    Here’s a secret – many apparently confident people are shy and dislike networking. So chances are anyone else you get into conversation with will be feeling a bit awkward too. The great thing about these events is that it’s fine to drop into a group, or go up to a person on their own and introduce yourself and ask about them. The more you do this the more normal it will feel and any awkwardness will start to fade out
  8. Observe listeners’ responses – are they bored, glazed, intrigued, inspired?
    The skill is to capture and keep interest, not to bulldozer them into submission. I’ve seen people backing away hotly pursued by a new contact desperately trying to get through the whole thing. It’s about personal and professional impact, and you want it to be positive. Probably the best thing to do if they really aren’t engaged is to ask ‘and what about you?’
  9. Listen to theirs, too – it’s a two-way thing and listening will help you network.
    They have just as much right to be heard as you do, and what they have to say may well be able to benefit you, too. Cultivate the art of asking questions – what they say and how they say it can give you clues to what they want.
  10. Have a variety for different occasions and people, refresh and evolve for today.
    A brief chat at the coffee stand, a personal intro at a meeting, a formal pitch to all at a networking gathering, a personal brand ident’ as a panellist or guest speaker … all these and more are opportunities to use versions of your pitch. Have a selection ready to air for every occasion, tailoring it to the moment, the people and their needs.

But the most important thing is to use it. The more you practise and use your selection of elevator pitches, the more agile, flexible and relevant it will become. And the more relaxed and confident you’ll be. PH

Image credit:Elevator doors by Ricardo Diaz, some rights reserved.


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Review: Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl movie posterThe superior thriller of 2014, Gone Girl is a dark, twisty, psychological study of the worst seven-year itch imaginable. Abduction, sex, murder and revenge; trial-by-media and satire on America’s dark heart, this one has it all.

Gone Girl will have you on the edge of your seat for the first hour, until the biggest plot turn of the decade hits you for six; then it’s a tense white-water ride into a twisting canyon in which every scene threatens disaster for the lead characters.

Add career-defining performances from Ben Affleck (Armageddon, The Town) and Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, The World’s End) to a script that is impossible to second guess, and Gone Girl is a genuine must-see. Continue reading


Review: Mr Turner (2014)

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Focusing on the latter part of Turner’s life, Tim Spall is a monumental, shuffling, shambling, porcine gargoyle, who expresses more in his many grunts than most actors can speak in a lifetime of dialogue. Warm, touching, tragic, and highly comic, Leigh’s collected tableaux of Turner’s life is the movie highlight of 2014. Continue reading


Review: Paddington (2014)

Paddington movie posterProducer David Hayman’s adaptation of Michael Bond’s children’s book may be more Harry Potter than anything else, but that doesn’t matter. Hayman’s oddly retro-anachronistic take on the bear from darkest Peru is a joy, a delight, a treasure.

Ben Wishaw (Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) voices the innocent-abroad, Paddington, not only remade as a slapstick hero after Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, but possibly the most polite movie hero in screen history. Everyone will want to look after this bear. Continue reading


Humour: Holiday Extras – Alcatraz

Holiday Extras - Alcatraz Prison
Slightly unsettled to find this image of Alcatraz featured in a search under Holiday Extras. Wondered if this the opposite of ‘glamping’? Then I saw the name of the photographer… RC

Image credit: Alcatraz by Alexander C. Kafka under Creative Commons license.

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