Updated: Nov 27, 2019
You have 30-60 seconds to SELL YOURSELF. GO...!
Does the term Elevator Pitch get your heart racing? Fill you with dread?
If so, you are not alone.
Defined as "a succinct and persuasive sales pitch,"no wonder it makes us nervous.
Do you know anyone who gets excited about performing their elevator pitch? (I can think of 3 people I know, maybe...)
Most of us are not comfortable selling ourselves. It makes us feel like a commodity, and the other person a buyer. It feels like we're performing and that increases our ambivalence.
That said, it is helpful to have a short, succinct description of who you are, what you have to offer and what you're curious about so that other people can help you.
As such, a re-frame of the Elevator Pitch is necessary.
I like to re-frame the concept from an Elevator Pitch to a Positioning Statement.
Contrary to a sales pitch, a Positioning Statement does't aim to convince. It's declarative and factual.
Your Positioning Statement should inform the listener about the following:
where you're at in your career,
what you have to offer,
and what you potentially want to do next.
Think of it like asking for directions. You need sharing enough information bout where you've come from and where you want to go so that (if possible) someone can help you.
In my program I offer a Positioning Statement Exercise, but I want to you all to benefit from this re-frame, so I'm including a Cheat Sheet below.
Additionally, you can also use this activity to:
prepare for the "tell me about yourself" request so dreaded in interviews,
or for any scenario where you need a short summary of where you are at in your career journey. Like at a networking event or trade show.
Before we get to the Cheat Sheet, here's some general advice about preparing and sharing your Positioning Statement:
1) Understand what's relevant to the listener. You don't need to share all the details of your past or future aspirations.
2) Practice your statement out loud so you can deliver it naturally when asked.
3) Add humour, levity or a dash of personality to your statement. No one likes to feel they're listening to a pitch.
4) Define your audience. Be prepared to modify your statement based on who you are talking to and what your request is.
Positioning Statement (formerly known as Elevator Pitch) Cheat Sheet
Step 1: Define your Audience
Step 2: For each question, choose 2 short answers
Who are you?
What do you do? What have you done?
What are you curious about doing next?
Request (where appropriate)
Step 3: Using the points above draft your Positioning Statement. Keep it to one paragraph.
Step 4: Practice repeatedly until you can share it naturally.
1) Lauren's Positioning Statement
Audience: Leaders in Learning and Development
"So Lauren, tell me about yourself!"
"Oh wow. My favourite question! Yes of course. I'm a coach who works with people at pivotal growth points in their career to chart their direction forward. Prior to coaching, I worked in executive search for 10 years where I helped companies find the talent they needed for key roles. I worked with hundreds of candidates during that time. Helping them consider and weigh their options and learn to present themselves was what I loved most about the job. Lately, I've been working with companies that are seeking innovative coaching programs to develop new leaders. I'm in the process of designing a blended learning program for this cohort and I'd love to talk with you about the content to put in the program."
2) Ella's Positional Statement.
Audience: Clean Tech Policy Analysts
Request: Seeking Informational Interview Leads
"Hi, I'm Ella. I'm reaching out to you in the hopes you can help me brainstorm. I recently returned to Toronto from Calgary and I'm curious about talking with people who work in clean tech or energy conservation organizations. Since the landscape here is new to me, I was hoping to seek direction from folks like you who know the local firms doing work in this area. Ever since I was a little kid I was fascinated with science. That curiosity led me to major in Biotechnology in university. When I graduated, I didn't know what I was going to do, so I got involved in local politics. It was there I developed hands-on expertise in stakeholder relationship management. After completing a graduate degree in Public Policy, I became a Policy Analyst in Husky Energy. I'm really passionate about harnessing clean energy and want to learn all I can about the field. Would you be open to a 15 minute phone call with me?"
3) Jacob's Positioning Statement
Audience: Browsers at the Zoomer Conference
Request: Sign up to his email list
"Hi, I'm Jacob. My real estate brokerage, Your Next Chapter, serves people in transformational life stages who are buying or selling their home or condo. I've worked in the real estate industry for 15 years and my favourite clients are people selling their long-time family home in order to downsize. I love your stories and all the memories I get to hear about from the family home. I know these can be emotional decisions. These days, real estate transactions can feel so, well... transactional. But my clients tell me, I'm like family. I'm with you every step of the way. I offer free advice about downsizing for baby boomers in my weekly newsletter. If you sign up now, I'll enter you into a draw for free interior design consultation for your new home! Sign up here: _______________"
4) Jennifer's Positioning Statement
Audience: Interview Panel for Project Lead Role at Consulting Company
Request: Checking in along with way to ensure she's not giving too much or too little information
"Jennifer, tell us your story."
"How long do you have? Just kidding. I'll keep it brief and let me know at the end if you want any more detail. When I was a kid I was always organizing the backyard activities for the neighbourhood crew. I'd set up the games, schedules, organize everyone into rotations and explain the rules. I've always loved leading people through a process and setting up the systems to make processes more efficient. I'm currently the Senior Manager of Client Engagements at New Horizons, a marketing consulting firm. I lead a team of Engagement Managers and oversee: project staffing, a budget of $3 million and the P&L for our channel. What drew me here today is that I'm really excited about Transparent Billing. I love the work you are doing here to help your clients put in new billing systems. I think I can offer a lot of innovative strategies about how to maximize your project teams' performance. I'll pause for now on my story, but let me know if there's anything I mentioned that you want to know more about."