You might have been asked a number of times tell me about yourself, what do you do these days or what your company does. Some times these questions might come from potential investors, customers or employers so the response is very critical and can determine if you have a strong case to be employed, receive investment, advice, etc. This is where the ‘elevator pitch’ comes in handy. As the name suggests, it is a compelling response you provide when you are meeting some one for a brief time, as in the elevators, or for the first time and you would like to spark a business or a professional conversation.
Elevator pitch usually has four main elements.
1. Background- Description of your self or the business
Your elevator pitch, at a minimum, has to include your name, details on your background such as education, work experience and field of interest. In this part, you can also include personal information such as the area you are from, university you attended or any other information you would think would be of interest to the individual you are interacting with.
Example – Hi, my name is Abdinassir. I have MBA from University of Alberta and I specialize in public administration and in particular civil service systems.
2. Goals – what you are trying to accomplish
The second element of the elevator pitch is intended to illustrate your aspirations and purpose. This should highlight, at a high level, why you need the connection and what you are trying to achieve. Try the concept of 5 whys to come up with your goal statement.
Example – My goal is to became an expert in civil service systems and government reforms.
3. Actions – what you are doing to reach your end goal
Goals alone are just mere dreams unless they are accompanied by specific action plans. Specify what you are doing or intend to do to accomplish your stated goals and when. This helps communicate your commitment to your goals.
Example – I intend to enrol in a Phd program next year and before starting the program I would like to seek advice from subject matter experts like you.
4. Engaging question – to spark follow up conversation
Lastly, in addition to your background, goals and planned actions, you want to end on a good note using a powerful statement or question. Powerful enough to entice your guest or new connection to say something.
Example – What do you think the emerging research questions in the area of civil service systems are? Is that something we could discuss over coffee perhaps next time.
In addition to brief encounters you can also reuse your elevator pitch or parts of it in any of the following:
- job fairs or career paths.
- social media platforms (LinkedIn, twitter, etc.)
- professional networking events
- at job interviews to answer the question ‘tell us about yourself’.