Four steps for crafting an elevator pitch for your elevator pitch
You shouldn’t try to cram everything into 20 seconds: go for an attention extension
You’re in an elevator, when in walks the client of your dreams – and you only have 20 seconds to engage them
Ah, the elevator pitch. You’ve heard the scenario: You’re in an elevator, when in walks the client of your dreams – and you only have 20 seconds to engage them. But you shouldn’t try to cram everything into 20 seconds. Instead, go for an attention extension.
Here’s how to make an elevator pitch:
1 Start with a verbal slap
Most people answer the “What do you do?” question with a single, predictable sentence: “I am an architect.” But the human brain only pays attention to interesting things.
If you want to be interesting, you need to stand out. Giving them a verbal slap in the face helps break the patterned thought process that made them ask the question in the first place.
2 Then ask a problem question
Once you’ve verbally shaken them awake, your next goal is to pose a problem that you suspect they will identify with. This must be spoken as a question. Questions have always been, and always will be, far more engaging than statements.
3 Go to the noddable
A noddable is an inspirational or wise quote that is so catchy and agreeable, it gets just about everyone nodding. People will agree with these so strongly that they may even let an audible, “Mmm!” or an “Amen!” escape their lips. For example: “We’re more connected than ever, but yet … more disconnected than ever.” For additional rapport points, try this advanced technique: Pause after the word “yet.” This allows your listener’s own brain to fill in the punchline even before you say it.
4 Finish with the curiosity statement
This is where you pretend to answer the “what do you do?” question. However, your answer will only want to make them ask another question. Here’s the simple formula for a good curiosity statement:
“I help/teach ________ (ideal client) to ________ (feature) so they can _________ (benefit).”
The last thing you want to do is to make a potential client feel like he’s being pitched to. If you get the sense that it’s turning into a commercial instead of a conversation, then you’re doing it wrong. Stop pitching and ask another question. – (Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015)
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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