A couple of weeks ago I went to the excellent PWI workshop “How to build a successful elevator pitch” presented by Peter Nolan and Paula Baptista. It was a really fascinating talk and the idea that I formed (being an avid reader) was that your elevator pitch is rather like the opening sentence of a novel. We all remember Jane Austen’s opening to “Pride and Prejudice” – ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
Who can resist reading further? But that sentence also gives us the kernel of the book, which is about marriage, and whether that is for love or money.
So this morning, as I was reading an article on how to write emails (something we all do every day), I realised that your elevator pitch is also like designing an email. Like the title of an email, your first sentence, needs to be tempting and mysterious, whilst still being honest and giving an idea of the subject that will follow. “Do you want to know how to become a millionaire?” might tempt someone to listen, but if the rest of the discussion is about the sales of double glazing they will quickly walk away…..
I think everyone concentrates on that opening sentence – which is important – but without a clear message you still won’t make your sale, and, in this case, your sale is You.
So your message, like the body of the email, needs to be concise and to appeal to the person who is listening. As we heard in the workshop, it is vital to connect with this person – and to watch out for signs of boredom and change your emphasis.
The ending is just as important as the beginning. As we were taught in school essays, it should encompass the main message of the conversation, but also include a follow-up – can we talk about this in more depth another time? When is a good time for you?
Here we also see the importance of the tone – friendly and encouraging but not pushy. Who hasn’t walked away from the Hard Sell?
Tempted into trying out your elevator pitch?
Why not register for the PWI Networking Drink on April 23rd when we will all be practising together…..