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What is an Elevator Pitch?

You have no doubt heard of the “elevator pitch.” But what exactly is it, and how can you use one to further your business career?

The Basics

An elevator pitch is a fast summary of your career as well as your objectives. The name comes from the amount of time it should take to deliver it: an elevator ride. It should take no longer than 60 seconds. Elevator pitches are made in a variety of settings such as career fairs, networking meetings, professional programs, online or maybe even an elevator.

Crafting a Successful Elevator Pitch

The most important quality of an elevator pitch — other than brevity — is persuasiveness. You have to be able to convince the person you’re pitching that you are the best person for whatever job you’re pursuing. Focus on what you bring to the table without sounding conceited.

There are some instances where you know exactly what type of job you want, and you know exactly who it is you need to convince. Keep in mind, the achievements you reached in a previous position might not be relevant to the new one. Offer specific examples of the skills you have that will translate to the position you are seeking.

Most of the time, however, a pitch will need to be flexible. Your main objective will be to make a positive first impression. After all, you might be interviewing with that person in the near future. Talk about the goals you want to accomplish without seeming too laser-focused on one particular position.

Another important point to remember is your pitch should never sound forced. It needs to be authentic and reflect your true personality. If it fails to do so, a savvy decision-maker will be able to spot it as a counterfeit. Be specific about what you want to convey, but never fake.

Preparing Your Pitch

If you believe an elevator pitch will help advance your career, then you will need to practice it as often as possible. Read it aloud until you have memorized every syllable to every word — but remember that it should sound natural. If you get to the point to where you sound like a robot, your pitch will lose all effectiveness.

Give your pitch to a friend and see how he or she reacts. Take notes whenever you receive feedback so you know what parts of the pitch you need to tweak. Make a recording of the pitch so you can hear what you sound like. A recording will also let you know if you can complete the pitch within your target time frame.

What NOT to Do

You do not want to talk too quickly. This can be hard to do within such a severely condensed timeframe, but you want your words to be clear and understandable. Never get off-track or ramble. You want the person to be able to receive the information and respond.

An elevator pitch can be an indispensable tool when it comes to advancing your career. But you need to practice your pitch in order for it to be as effective as possible. Keep it short, of course, but make sure it’s compelling and reflects your true personality.

Learn more about Boise State University’s online MBA in Management program.