“Tell me about yourself!”
The elevator pitch dilemma is real.
Have you ever been asked to describe yourself in 30 seconds? Let’s suppose you are asked about yourself – on an elevator or anywhere else — where the duration of the encounter is extremely brief. The expression “elevator pitch” was coined to illustrate how short your message needs to be.
In business and in life, an elevator pitch is a pithy, memorable expression of what makes you unique. The purpose of any elevator pitch is to make a great first impression, while at the same time condensing your words down to what’s most important.
From the moment you step onto the elevator (real or virtual) to arrive at your destination, your elevator pitch needs to cover three things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why any of it makes a difference
And to complicate matters, your elevator pitch will — and should – change depending upon your audience.
For example, when I first moved to Manhattan, I was often asked what caused me to leave Texas. My elevator speech referenced how New York City was my dream city, and in my second chapter of life, I wanted the opportunity to give back in a new community.
But when I travel back to Texas and am asked why I moved to New York, my elevator speech focuses on the life lessons I acquired in Texas. I share how I learned to go big in Texas, and am now test-driving that approach to life in New York.
In each case, I am thinking about how to relate to my audience. Both statements are truthful, but they have a different emphasis targeted for who’s listening.
How can an elevator pitch jumpstart a connection?
Every time we talk about ourselves – whether it’s making a new social or professional connection – we have the opportunity to be relevant. A good elevator pitch creates both that relevance, and an opportunity to connect with our listeners.
Always remember: a good elevator pitch creates curiosity in the listener. Think of the closing sentence as a jumping off point to spark a longer conversation.
For example, when I tell New Yorkers I want to give back, the natural next question is How? And when I say to Texans that I plan to go big in New York, they want to know What!
How can an elevator pitch work for dating?
Every time we meet someone new in a social setting, we have an opportunity to share whatever we want about ourselves. We control the narrative.
So let’s talk about dating introductions. Do you have a short and compelling answer for the “tell me about yourself” question?
Is your first thought to talk about where you live? Your family? Your children?
But what if, instead, you crafted an elevator pitch answer that describes what makes YOU unique?! Think about what makes you distinctive and memorable.
These are just a few ideas of why you are one-of-a- kind:
- Your name, and what it means
- Your work, and why you do it
- Your interests, and why you are passionate about them
- Your hopes and dreams
Here’s an example of an elevator speech for me:
“I’m Kate, named for my mother — with the unfortunate result that I was called “Little Kate” all my life. Maybe that’s why I have always yearned to do big things. So I work in the nonprofit world to change and save lives. I dream one day of helping to eradicate cancer.”
Your elevator pitch should open the door to additional conversation. If done thoughtfully, what you share about yourself piques interest and sets the stage for additional connection. Give it a try – decide what makes you “you”, and what you want the world to know.
Here’s to your uniqueness! I would love for you to share your pitch with me at Kate@KateSomerset.com.