No matter where you are in your career, your elevator pitch is an essential tool in your “how to get ahead” arsenal. How well you describe yourself in those first few moments of meeting someone is immeasurably important. It takes only 7 seconds to make a first impression, so your opening lines need to be just right.
What makes for a successful introduction? Over the past few weeks, I asked my Twitter followers to tell me what they thought.
Tweet me your top tip on elevator pitches. How do you introduce yourself to important people? Will share best ideas on my blog!
— Lindsey Pollak (@lindseypollak) November 7, 2013
There were some fantastic ideas pitched back. Here are a few of the best tips:
@lindseypollak Smile! Put nerves aside and demonstrate your enthusiasm for what you do (& the chance to talk about it) w/ nonverbal cues
— Shimrit Markette (@ShimritMarkette) November 7, 2013
The non-verbals are so important in moments like introductions – I agree with you, Shimrit! For more tips on this topic, read my 3 secrets of non-verbal communication blog post.
@lindseypollak Make sure your intro addresses the target’s needs. Think about what he/she wants to know about you and pitch that.
— Miriam Salpeter (@Keppie_Careers) November 7, 2013
When introducing yourself, it’s tempting to keep it “me” focused, but Miriam brings up an excellent point here: think about what’s going to be relevant to the other person. This will help you make the connection and find common ground much quicker.
@lindseypollak say something they can relate to and will remember like “I admire your experience with…” then ask to stay connected
— Lotus Yon (@lotus_yon) November 2, 2013
I love this tip because it accomplishes two things. First, by explaining what you admire, you establish that you’ve done your homework and can come to the table immediately ready to discuss something relevant. Second, you can make a sincere compliment by mentioning something specific that impresses you. That kind of positivity is usually rewarded with a genuine desire to learn about you.
@lindseypollak What’s the thing you want that person to remember most about you? Focus on that and ask to follow up.
— Matt LaCasse (@MattLaCasse) November 7, 2013
Matt makes another great point here: by focusing on your goal for the conversation, you can work backwards and aim the introduction toward that end. Especially with VIPs, time can be limited. Getting to the point quickly is important.
— Jan-Peter (@Jan_Peter) November 2, 2013
This tip is one I see people often miss. You want your pitch to be the spark of a conversation, not a lengthy introduction of yourself. Start short and engage the other person, allowing them to speak and allowing you to listen.
Thank you to everyone who tweeted a tip on elevator pitches – they were all excellent ideas! I’ll be continuing to ask for tips like this on Twitter, and I invite you to follow me (@lindseypollak) for more conversation.
What are your tips on introductions in career conversations? Share your thoughts in a comment!