Date posted: 24/02/2019

The elevator pitch: Crafting the ultimate networking introduction

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You're at an industry event and you happen to meet a HR Manager of one of the Big Four. It's always been your dream to work there. What's your elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is an effective networking technique you can use to introduce yourself in a clear and concise way. In just a few short sentences, you've captured the interest of someone who could help to lead you to an incredible career opportunity.

Mastering this important skill can require a bit of work. Your elevator pitch needs to be adaptable to the circumstances in which you will be using it.

How do I create my elevator pitch?

Creating a simple template1 that allows you to spout off a quick and easy introduction isn't as difficult as it may seem.

Start with the facts. These can be as simple as your name and your current position - this part of the elevator pitch is best partnered with a firm handshake.

Then you can move onto what you studied at university, your goals and aspirations - highlighting what you are aiming to achieve. Your goals are sure to change over the course of your career as you tick some off your list and outgrow others, so it's a good idea to keep your list of goals updated.

Next, provide an example of something you've done to help you achieve your goals. For graduates, this is where you can mention your CA qualification to show that you're taking extra steps with your degree to give yourself the best chance of achievement. For students, you can highlight any work experience or mentorship you have undertaken during your studies.

Giving someone insight into your main skills flows easily from here, whether it's something you have learnt, an industry-specific skill or just a valuable personality trait.

Finally, ask your conversational partner about any opportunities within their company that could help you to achieve your goals. Making enquiries about internships or work experience programs is a great place to start.

How do I deliver my elevator pitch?

The key to delivering a good elevator pitch is confidence. You need to be clear about who you are, what you do, what you want and how you plan to achieve it. By asserting confidence in a networking situation or interview, you can demonstrate desirable qualities such as initiative and reliability.

Aside from the way you structure your elevator pitch, confidence is also imparted via body language. Maintaining good posture, modulating eye contact and a pleasant smile are just some of the simple ways you can express self-assuredness without saying anything at all.2

That being said, the way in which you speak can be just as important as the words themselves. When delivering your elevator pitch, remember to enunciate clearly, maintain a steady tone and project your voice from your diaphragm. This way, you can ensure you are getting your point across effectively and with clarity.

Where can I use my elevator pitch?

Your elevator pitch shouldn't be limited to networking events and interviews. You can easily use the same structure when reaching out to a new LinkedIn connection, or even in your personal summary on your profile.

Don't stop there - you can even use a form of elevator pitch to introduce yourself on the first day of a new university class or even around the dinner table with extended family at Christmas.

The use cases are varied and practically endless - you can revise both the length and detail of your elevator pitch to suit pretty much any given situation!

Your resume is great place to have a written elevator pitch.3 Providing a succinct introduction to who you are can draw the reader in and help to bring your application to the top of the pile.

Likewise, structuring your cover letter as a far more detailed version of your elevator pitch can help recruiters to discover the specific reasons why you are the ideal candidate for the job.

Sometimes, the need to give your elevator pitch can arise spontaneously. Without any warning, you could find yourself in a position where an impressive introduction could possibly lead to a huge opportunity. Regularly practising your elevator pitch and updating it as your career progresses are both great ways to ensure you're ready for any opportunity that might come along.