How to Give an Elevator Pitch (With Examples)

September 16, 2019

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Introducing yourself well sets the stage for a professional conversation whether at a networking event, with a colleague or at the beginning of an interview. One tool that many people use to make introductions simple and effective is the elevator pitch.

Below, you’ll find several elevator pitch examples along with tips to help ideate, craft and deliver your personal message.

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What Is an Elevator Pitch?

A personal elevator pitch is a quick summary of you. It’s named for the time taken to ride an elevator from the bottom to the top of a building, which is roughly 30 seconds or 75 words. Elevator pitches are sometimes thought to be specific to an idea or a product. However, having a pitch to sell yourself as a professional is also a common instance of use for elevator pitches.

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Why Are They Important?

It will be useful to have an elevator pitch ready during the interview process because it typically serves as a great icebreaker to start a conversation. Be it face-to-face or virtual interview, you’ll be asked to provide a summary of who you are, what your background is and what you want from your next job. The elevator pitch can also be a helpful framework to plan your answer for the popular interview question, ‘tell me about yourself’, or to write a cover letter.

Another benefit of a personal elevator pitch is that it prepares you to introduce yourself when exciting opportunities present themselves in everyday life. Whether you are at a grocery store, at a cocktail party or a networking event, maybe even in an actual elevator, the pitch can quickly help new contacts understand why they should connect with you or consider you when an opportunity arises.

An advantage of using an elevator pitch when speaking about your career or aspirations is that you can take the lead. Instead of waiting on the other party to direct the conversation, you can assertively explain what you have to offer. In many interactions, such as a job interview or mentorship proposition, this can be a relief to your audience. They will be glad to see you know both what you want and how to ask for it.

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How to Write an Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch should answer the following questions: Who are you? What do you do? What do you want?

Start by introducing yourself

As you approach someone to pitch to, whether that’s at an event, interview or anything in between, start off with an introduction. Give your full name, smile, extend your hand for a handshake and add a pleasantry like “It’s nice to meet you!”

Provide a summary of what you do

This is where you’ll give a brief summary of your background. You should include the most relevant information like your education, work experience and/or any key specialties or strengths. If you’re not sure what to include, try writing everything that comes to mind on a piece of paper. Once you’ve recorded everything, go through and remove everything that’s not absolutely critical to explaining your background and why you’ve got what your audience may be looking for. Consider the most important highlights on your resume. Once you’ve got it down to just a few points, organise them in a way that makes sense in your story.

Here’s an example:

Hi, my name is Sara. It’s so nice to meet you! I’m a public relations (PR) manager with a special focus in overseeing successful initiative launches from beginning to end. Along with my seven years of professional experience, I recently graduated with an MBA from XYZ University with a focus on consumer trust and retention.

Explain what you want

This step will depend on what you’re using the pitch for. The ‘ask’ of your pitch could be consideration for a job opportunity, an internship or simply to get contact information. This is a good opportunity to explain the value you’ll bring, why you’re a good fit for a job or generally what your audience has to gain from your interaction. Focus on what you have to offer in this segment of the pitch.

Let’s go back to Sara’s pitch:

Hi, my name is Sara. It’s so nice to meet you! I’m a public relations (PR) manager specialising in overseeing successful initiative launches from beginning to end. Along with my seven years of professional experience, I recently received my MBA with a focus on consumer trust and retention. I find the work your PR team does to be innovating and refreshing. I’d love the opportunity to put my expertise to work for your company.

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Finishing your Elevator Pitch

You should end your elevator pitch by asking for what you want to do next. If you feel an elevator pitch is appropriate for a certain situation, begin with the goal of gaining a new insight or next steps. Examples can include asking for a meeting, expressing interest in a job, confirming you’ve fully answered an interview question or asking someone to be your mentor.

Asking for what you want can be intimidating but it’s important you give the conversation an action item instead of letting it come to a dead end. Remember, you’ve just met this person so make the ask simple with little required on their part. Here’s an example from the pitch we’ve been building.

”Hi, my name is Sara. It’s so nice to meet you! I’m a public relations (PR) manager specialising in overseeing successful initiative launches from beginning to end. Along with my 7 years of professional experience, I recently received my MBA with a focus on consumer trust and retention. I find the work your PR team does to be innovating and refreshing. I’d love the opportunity to put my expertise to work for your company. Would you mind if I set up a quick call next week for us to talk about any upcoming opportunities in your team?”

If they agree to your request, be sure to thank them for their time and get their contact information. End the conversation with a concise and action-oriented farewell such as, “Thank you for your time. I’ll send you a follow-up email tonight. Have a great day!” If they don’t agree to your request, gracefully end the conversation with a polite, “I understand. Thank you for your time! If it’s all right, I’ll send you a follow-up email and see if there’s a better time for us to connect.”

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How to Deliver Your Elevator Pitch

After you’ve taken time to develop a pitch that’s focused on your background and immediate goals, practice and refine it. Reading your elevator pitch out loud to yourself can reveal any mistakes, opportunities for better wording or extraneous information that might distract from your main points. Ask a friend to help you practice out loud and give feedback to start polishing your speech.

Here are a few tips on delivery as you practice:

Take your time

An elevator pitch is a quick conversation by nature but try to avoid speaking too fast. Keeping your pitch to around 75 words should help you deliver optimal information in a clear, digestible way. Be mindful of rushing through it or trying to add in too much information.

Make it conversational

It’s good to plan your elevator pitch ahead of time and practice but you should avoid sounding rehearsed in delivery. A good way to keep the pitch conversational is to memorise a general outline or key points of your speech. Keep this structure in the back of your mind and adapt your pitch for each person you give it to. For example, if you’re talking to someone you’ve just met, keep the conversation general, focused on your background and possibly state if you’re seeking new opportunities. If you’re talking to someone you want to work with, it’s important to refer to their open position or company and how specifically you can provide value.

Avoid niche words and phrases

Using acronyms, technical terms or industry-specific words and phrases can limit your elevator pitch by confusing or alienating your audience. You would want to speak to people with a variety of backgrounds so try replacing with general, simple language. Asking friends or family for feedback can be useful for this step.

Express confidence

Even the best elevator pitch can lose its effectiveness if your delivery lacks confidence. Keep your chest high, shoulders back and smile when meeting someone and delivering your pitch. Use a strong speaking voice to show confidence in your experience and what you want in the future. If you’re nervous, try mentally reversing roles. If you were the person being pitched to, you’d likely be happy to listen and help the inquirer as best you could.

There is potential that your audience won’t be open to hearing your pitch. If it’s not the right time or the person you’re speaking to doesn’t seem receptive, gracefully draw back. If you’ve asked for an in-person meeting and they’ve denied it, you can ask if they’d prefer email or a phone call. If you get the sense at any point that the conversation is an inconvenience, use this opportunity to negotiate for a lesser ask. Leave the conversation with empathy for your audience. You prepared a speech and they weren’t expecting it. You can probably relate to the feeling of being caught off guard.

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Elevator Pitch Examples

Let’s take a look at some additional elevator pitch examples from a variety of job titles and situations you can refer back to when creating your own:

Context: In an Interview
Job Title: Executive Assistant

Hi, my name is Manoj. Thanks so much for sitting down with me today. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in business administration, I’ve spent the last three years building professional experience as an executive assistant. I’ve successfully managed end-to-end event coordination and have generated a strong professional network for my colleagues. I was excited to learn about this opportunity in the sports management space. I’ve always been passionate about the way sports brings cultures together and would love the opportunity to bring my project management and leadership abilities to this position.

Context: Seeking a Mentor
Job Title: Graphic Designer

Hi, I’m Mira. It is so nice to meet you! I’m a graphic designer at ABC Pvt. Ltd. I’m passionate about creating beautiful, intuitive designs for a variety of marketing collateral for our top-tier clients. Before that, I completed my master’s degree in graphic designing. I’m looking for experiences to learn more about career paths and ways to grow into the role of an art director in the next few years. Your work with XYZ brand has inspired the ways I think about design. I would love to talk more about a potential mentorship with you if that’s something you have time for and would be interested in.

Context: Adding a Contact
Job Title: Business Analyst

Hello! My name is Anwar. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I have a background in business analytics with experience of just over 10 years in creating data-driven solutions for various business problems. Specifically, I love and have had great success in the strategic evaluation of data analysis with our executive staff. It sounds like you do similar work. I would love to keep in touch to learn more about what you and your company do.

Context: Seeking a Job Opportunity
Job Title: Media Planner
Hi, I’m Tarun. I’ve spent the last eight years learning and growing in my role as media planner where I’ve developed and optimised strategic media plans for our top client and managed a subset of planners as a team lead. One of my proudest achievements was a pro-bono project that was recognised as a top non-profit campaign last year. I’ve been interested in moving to the non-profit sector for quite a while and I love what your company does in education. Would you mind telling me about any media planning opportunities you may have on the team?

Developing an elevator pitch one step at a time makes it simple to create a speech that can be used in any professional situation. Elevator pitches can be helpful as you take them into your next networking event or interview. Your elevator pitch could be the beginning of a new opportunity. Therefore, draft, review, refine and deliver it with confidence.

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