Throughout our lives, we are constantly meeting new people. It is how we grow mentally, emotionally, and socially. As we interact with other people, we study their reactions to us. If the reaction is what we hoped for, great! If it isn’t, we change our tactics. We talk about something different. We do this to create relationships that we can maintain through the future: family members; friendships that can last through elementary school, high school, college and beyond; relationships with a significant other.
But how do we start these interactions? It’s a social tool that you may not even know that you use. In terms of business and networking, it is the elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch, as explained by Terri L. Sjodin, is a brief presentation that introduces a product, service, philosophy or an idea. The name suggests the notion that the message should be delivered in te span of an elevator ride… up to
about 3 minutes. Its general purpose is to intrigue and inspire a listener to want to hear more of the presenters complete proposition in the near future.
In business as well as social terms, an elevator pitch is a way to introduce yourself to someone in order present yourself as appealing enough to continue interacting with. It is the back-cover summary of a book, the trailer of a movie. In a short amount of time, you have to entice the person you are speaking with to learn more, to put your business card in that special spot in their wallet and not just dump it into a pocket or bag.
In competitive markets, none of us is entitled to anyone’s time and attention. That means you must get serious about earning the right to be heard and making your 3 minutes count.
If I challenged you to tell me your story in two minutes or less, could you? What should be in your story? I feel people do business with people they like, so add some personal stories where appropriate. Show them who you are as a person.
Add some business facts, but not too many. Chances are, this person has approached about a similar product or service, but you aren’t just selling that. you are putting yourself into the package as well, subconsciously telling your prospective client, “What makes this different then anything else is me.”
If they like you, then you have leap-frogged to the front of the pack.