After meeting someone first the first time, it’s almost a given that they will ask, “So, what do you do?”

7 Tips for Writing a Effective Elevator PitchIt’s important that you have a succinct answer that will clearly relay what you do and why you’re awesome at it–all without boring them or sounding braggadocios.

This is where your Elevator Pitch comes in handy. When you have an Elevator Pitch ready and well rehearsed, it will do its job beautifully, and could very well land you a new connection or client.

Your Elevator Pitch needs to

–Address a problem

–Reveal who’s problem are you solving

–Explain how you solve it

–Describe why you’re better at solving the problem

So how do you piece together your Elevator Pitch?

  1. Keep it short.

It’s called an Elevator Pitch because it should be short enough that you could say the entire thing while riding to your desired floor in an elevator. Often people will shoot for a 30-second or 60-second pitch, but it can be shorter if you’re able to convey your message even quicker. Hint: You should have different versions ready to go so you can use whichever best fits the allotted time and particular audience.

  1. It’s not about you.

Despite the fact that the pitch is about your business, it should appear to be more about your audience.  People want to know what you can do for them, and how you will make their lives better. You should address your audience’s problems and offer solutions.  Your audience should be able to relate to the problem you reference and then understand that their problem could be solved if they work with you.

  1. Use a verb quickly.

You need to capture your audience’s attention quickly. So, they need to know right away what problem you’re going to solve. For example, if you’re a CPA who likes to work with small businesses, you could say, “I relieve the burden of filing Small Business taxes, by using my 20 years of accounting experience….” With this statement, you’ve already said who you like to work with, something notable about yourself and what problem you solve.

  1. It must sound confident and must roll off your tongue.

Practice, practice, practice! You should practice your various versions of your pitch so much that you can quickly recite the one that’s most appropriate for your current situation.

  1. Smile.

Smiles are contagious, and people want to work with people with whom they think they’ll enjoy working.

  1. Zip it.

Once you’re done, stop talking. Don’t ramble on or add fluff. You’ll end up either boring them, looking selfish because you’re hogging the conversation, or you’ll look like you’re not confident in yourself and your abilities.

Bonus: If you’re at a networking event, add a specific CTA.

You wouldn’t want to necessarily say this if you were in an elevator meeting someone for the first time, but if you’re at a networking event, it’s acceptable.  Say something at the end like, “A good referral for me this week is [be specific] a middle-aged business owner with about 20 employees who is looking to…”

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