Shape your elevator pitch (Networking Series Part 5)

Your elevator pitch, that is the way you’re introducing yourself, should be something you’re working on constantly.

Elevator pitch

One of the most important ways to brand yourself and let people know what you do is your elevator pitch. So how do you make sure you can get your message across the right way? How can you start raking in those requests to be hired by the right people you can help best? Here’s my take on it: Use every networking opportunity as a testing field. Introduce yourself in different ways each time! That will tell you, what resonates best with people.

Improve your introduction

When I started networking, I was very shy and holding back a lot and didn’t really know how to make a good introduction. I was caught up in my world of technical terms and the things I surround myself with on a daily basis. Here’s what my first elevator pitch may have sounded like:

My name is Mark and I’m really into Google Analytics, WordPress and Photoshop. I constantly keep up with changes and improvements that come out. I’m in knee deep with this internet stuff. Also: esthetics! Helvetica Neue is just a blessing, don’t you think?!

That definitely made me come across as a tech nerd but not as someone you would hire to solve your technical issue or even involve me as a technical co-founder. Over the course of many of those early introductions and people not really being interested in my business, I’ve realized that something needed to change!

Shake it up!

I began experimenting a bit and changed the perspective. I no longer told people about the technologies I  used or how much research I did on technical issues. I’ve started to use examples of how I solved a problem and that I could help a business out. Here’s what the elevator pitch changed to:

Hi I’m Mark and I use state of the art tech to help your business understand who your potential clientele is and how to market to them. In my last project the business owner thought he would attract males 40+. Using analytics data we realized the true potential lied with an audience of mixed genders aged 21+.

So this really gave everyone a perspective on how they could involve me to solve their specific problem. It made me relatable. However it locked the perception of me in to the example I was using. With this intro everyone thought I can help them identify their target audience for their website and how to market to them. Which is such a small bandwidth of opportunities.

Broader, personal and wow!

Fast forward to now and I make it sound broader, a bit bigger and I also throw in a bit of a mystery and open endedness:

I’m Mark. And I call myself “visual storyteller”. I do digital projects for the Global 500 for a living.

If the person I’m talking to is even only slightly interested, they might be intrigued by “visual storyteller” or by the types of clients I serve. Whatever it may be, it really gets the conversation off the ground as soon as people start asking questions. And if you ask me, this is how a good elevator pitch should be constructed! It should serve as a conversation starter that puts you into a well enough defined position. I’ve refined it over 3 years by constantly changing the perspective, the words, the length and everything you could think of. Including different forms of addressing people.

Shape your intro

Keeping your elevator pitch intriguing and a slight bit open ended tasks you with developing the skill. That is an acquired trait if you ask me. It will develop over the course of time. The more often you practice with real people, the quicker you will be in finding a very good introduction of yourself that leads to at least a meaningful conversation, a meeting or in the best case a new client for life.


Also published on Medium.