Elevator Pitch – UGH!!

Most career coaches and outplacement agencies have their clients create an “Elevator Pitch” for their job search.   

Definition

The “Elevator Pitch” answers the question “What would you say to a person whose company you want to work for when you just happen to be riding in the same elevator?”

Length

I belong to a job seeker group where each person stands up and gives a 2 minute “elevator pitch”.  Now, if you have 20, 30, 40 people giving 2 minute speeches you have 40, 60, or 80 minutes used up just in pitches.  The leaders of the group and/or other members will give suggestions on whom to contact for possible job leads increasing the amount of time spent on pitches.

However, there are articles and other coaches who recommend a 30 or 60 second “elevator pitch.” 

One Shot

You only get one shot at grabbing the person in the elevator’s attention and making a great first impression. If you do not, the other person will get the deer in the headlights look and treat you like you have the plague. 

Example

Here is a rough draft of my pitch from when I began my job search.   This pitch was discarded “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

“Hi, My name is Michele Kearns. I am a collection’s Team Leader recognized as knowledgeable regarding various collection portfolios as well as possessing problem solving and training aptitude. I formulated realistic payment plans that eliminated delinquency and protected or helped re-establish client’s credit. Combining collections with customer service is key to enhancing business reputation. My primary goal, in the next 3 months, is obtaining a managerial position utilizing my banking collections experience.”

That is so awful it makes me want to barf!  This is what I ended up with after numerous revisions.  Is it any wonder it is now floating out in some distant galaxy?  The pitch has never been  or ever will be replaced.

 Looking Like Tilda

Once done, it is time to memorize the pitch.  Now I did acting in high school so memorizing lines is nothing new.  However, the only line I could memorize in my pitch was “Hi, my name is Michele Kearns.”  After that my mind went blank because the remainder of the pitch was boring.  There is nothing unique about it.

I paced around my house reading it and trying to say it line by line.  I looked like Tilda Swinton in her Oscar winning role as “Karen Crowder” in the 2007 movie “Michael Clayton.” In the movie she paced around her residence reciting answers to questions she was going to be asked in an interview.  She was more skilled at delivering her answers that I ever was with my pitch.

The Keys

There are two keys to a good pitch:

1.) Great writing so your pitch is memorable.

2.) Sounding natural while delivering it.   This is a skill that 99% of the population does not have and is best left to Academy Award winning actors and actresses.

Winging It

Now-a-days when someone asks me what I want to do, I answer – “training, because I was the person management relied on to train new hires and developed an extensive knowledge about the bank’s products, and collection policies and procedures.” 

In short, I end up “winging it.”

May you have better luck crafting and delivering your “Elevator Pitch” than me.

2 comments

  • Michele,
    I hate giving my thirty second commercial and now that I have it memorized they want me to change it! You do need one though that explains to new people what you are looking for so they can help you. I think it’s called a necessary evil. I found by keeping it simple and honest that it became easier for me to memorize.
    Mike