Mastering the Elevator Pitch

Cocktail hours are about more than the drinks

T he further we dive into the age of technology, the harder it is for our qualifications to stand out on their own. Candidates can look perfect on paper, having completed x amount of degrees, and still turn out to be a complete dud in person.

To show an employer you're ready to show up for the job, why not show up to social events and pitch yourself?

The benefits of pitching stretch anywhere from entrepreneurs getting their ideas off the ground, to prospective students applying for university programs, all the way to getting that promotion you've been eyeing for weeks.

Find out where the next local meet and mingle event is, show up, and don't forget to perfectly curate that elevator pitch.

To really ace it, we have a few tips on how to get the ball rolling:

Start off by writing all of your key points: if you can remember these bullet points, you'll know how to elaborate on them if the conversation goes past your initial pitch. The important thing is getting through your list between 30 seconds and 1.5 minutes, and then see if you've kept their interest.

Know who you're talking to
Just like a resume, you don't want to tell an employer about skills that don't apply to them. It'll leave them feeling un-important, like they're "just another number". Have some secret knowledge about their company or brand and that'll put you one step ahead.

To piggyback on the first step: prepare a few variations. Sometimes you truly only have an elevator ride of 15 seconds to pitch yourself to your dream boss. Other times you have an entire seven-minute cocktail conversation. If you have a few versions of your speech, you won't get stuck on minute two.

Eliminate industry jargon
No one likes to feel dumb or uninformed. Using big words may seem appropriate, but it can actually turn a "yes" into a "no" for them very quickly. Remember that old saying K.I.S.S.? Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Read your pitch out loud
Reading work out loud can eliminate errors and make the pitch feel more natural to the way that you speak. Writing is more formal, so speaking will scratch out any jargon or stiffness.

Nail it with confidence
Look them in the eye, have a firm handshake, and you're on your way to a good first impression. If you act upbeat, you can mess up and they won't even notice. There's nothing worse than a good pitch that falls flat and unenthusiastic.

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