Picture this: You have worked at this company for almost 3 years and are actively pursuing a management role in your group. Your company owns the first three floors of a small office park and the company has approximately 400 employees. You’re stuck in an elevator with an executive and no one else. The elevator door shuts and the executive presses “2” for the second floor. You are presently on the first floor of your office building and you know that the elevator moves quick. You are given 30 seconds or less with the executive, where no other influencer or political factor is involved. This is obviously your big opportunity to make a large impact in a very short period of time.
You ask yourself the following questions:
- Should I stay in the corner? Where should I position myself in the elevator?
- If I speak, what should come out of my mouth?
- How should I start the conversation and how should I make the best use of this time?
- Could I lose my job if I say something wrong or seem incompetent?
- Maybe this could be my opportunity to make a statement and gain credibility and possibly a strong addition to my network. Should I pursue this?
Finally you gain the courage to speak and the executive is caught off guard and responds positively to your remark. He decides that you have demonstrated mastery in your field and he wants you to come to his office later for a briefing on a major project to acquire a new company.
Of course this is a perfect situation, but there is strategy and Personal Branding behind it. Let’s examine some of these tactics that will help you out if you run into a position that is similar to the one stated above.
6 Successful Elevator Pitch Best Practices
- Confidence: The most important factor when engaging anyone, especially executives that carry a political presence, is to have confidence in yourself and your abilities, along with your brand. You need to be content with your personality, appearance, competencies and overall value proposition. Without confidence, you will be in the corner of the elevator as the executive walks out of the second floor 30 seconds later, with the door closed.
- Preparation: Since you never know when you will be caught in an informal situation, you should always be prepared with something interesting to say. If you are currently working on important projects or you’ve accomplished a lot during your time at a company, try weaving that into a story that you can tell. To be prepared is to be successful.
- Research: The best way to survive an elevator pitch is to know your audience, even though you could be stuck with just about anyone. Understand the management team behind your company by locating their biographical information on the company website. The more you know about your audience, the more you can tailor the message to them.
- Delivery: To deliver a successful pitch, remember to say something concrete, important and actionable. You want the executive to leave knowing that your a leader and that your looking for new ways to better help the company grow. Executives think in the future and leave the day to day operations to contributors or non-managers. Saying that, you want your pitch to activate thoughts as they relate to the company’s future.
- Speed: You are given a short allotment of time to create the dialog, so you must think and act in a timely manner. This means you have to pull the best idea quickly and make it concise and to the point. Remember, the attention span of an executive is very short, especially with their responsibilities. After you think of the idea, quickly execute, before your time runs out. Speed can be risky because if you have to think fast, some of your idea’s might come out the wrong way, but as with anything else, there is a reward or failure with a risk.
- Follow-up: Whether you succeed or fail with delivery, there is always room for a follow-up, similar to the aftermath of an interview you would take for a job. Showing that you are interested in a person or the company is seen as positive. Following-up also increases your exposure and the likelihood that you will be presented an opportunity in the future.