Don’t Miss Your Shot: Prepare an Elevator Pitch

“If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”

– Eminem

These words couldn’t be more representative of the importance of an elevator pitch. You never know when you’ll unexpectedly find yourself in the presence of someone who holds an amazing—perhaps once-in-a-lifetime—opportunity for you. This may be your ‘one shot’ to tell this person about yourself! Being prepared with a solid elevator pitch may be the difference between capturing an opportunity or letting it slip away.

What’s An Elevator Pitch?

According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, an elevator pitch is defined as “a succinct and persuasive sales pitch.” You may be asking yourself, “But, what am I selling?” The skillset and perspective you bring to a professional opportunity, of course! You may also be asking, “Why is it referred to as an elevator pitch rather than just a pitch?” Think about the length of time it takes for you to enter an elevator, press the button to the floor you want, and take the short trip to your designated floor. That timeframe is brief and usually less than a minute.

Now, think about what happens during that time of going from one floor to another. Most often, everyone in the elevator is silent or close to it with little to no external distractions (bye-bye cell service!), making this a prime opportunity to have someone’s undivided attention to make your pitch. Everyone you meet, whether on an elevator, in a grocery store aisle, or in the hallway at a conference, is a potential lead (or connection to a lead) for a professional opportunity. This may your only chance to make a memorable and positive first impression.

Developing Your Elevator Pitch

In the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology, consider your elevator pitch to be a brief speech that influences the listener to consider you first for future opportunities that match your current professional experience and align with your future professional goals.

Ideally, an elevator pitch should be no more than 30 seconds. When developing yours, consider this timing and your content. There are 3 parts to an elevator pitch:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Your goals

Example of My Elevator Pitch

My name is Kia Johnson. I’m a speech-language pathologist in stuttering and the Associate Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research. I’m also on the ASHA Board of Directors, National Advisor to National NSSLHA, and Chair of the NBASLH Board of Directors. I’m very interested in expanding my research on stuttering and speech disfluencies in culturally diverse populations while furthering my leadership experiences in the profession.

Finetune Your Delivery

Once your elevator pitch is created, it’s time to finetune your delivery. When giving your elevator pitch, begin with extending your hand for a handshake (optional, if you’re comfortable) as you share ‘who you are.’ Make sure your body is facing the listener as much as possible, and deliver the pitch with excitement, a smile, and eye contact. Although it’s brief in length and time, be mindful of your speech rate to ensure the listener understands every word of your pitch.

Practice Makes Perfect

Lastly, get comfortable with your elevator pitch by practicing with a few people, like family members and close friends. This helps your delivery come across as confident and prepared. It also helps you reduce the use of filler words like “uh” and “um” when you’re unsure of what to say.

Remember, being ready with an elevator pitch is important and can help you secure professional opportunities that elevate you towards your goals. In the words of Eminem, “You only get one shot. Do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.” Now, when it does, you’ll be ready with your elevator pitch!

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