The Art of Charm (@TheArtofCharm) presents one of the most important tools in the toolbox: perfecting your elevator pitch — a brief and memorable introduction you could make to a fellow passenger in the time it takes to get from the lobby to the penthouse suite.
The Cheat Sheet:
- Do you fear being asked the “what do you do for a living” question?
- Learn what an elevator pitch is and what you should make sure it includes.
- What is the Tornado Technique and how can it whittle down your elevator pitch to be most effective?
- Use these methods to practice and get your presentation down.
- Understand self-reflective analysis so your pitch can evolve as you do instead of being a stale reflection of who you were last year — or 10 years ago.
- And so much more…
Do you cringe when someone you’ve just met asks you what you do for a living — either because you don’t know how to explain it in a way that makes sense or, worse, you just don’t think what you do is very exciting?
In this special toolbox episode of The Art of Charm, Johnny Dzubak and AJ Harbinger join Jordan to explain what an elevator pitch is and how you can perfect it to answer that awkward question with confidence — and make the person who asked it glad they made the connection with you. Enjoy this one!
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When The Art of Charm began nearly a decade ago, it was a little hard for Jordan, AJ, and Johnny to explain exactly what it was they did in a succinct elevator pitch type of conversation when they were asked.
“We tried our best to defer, deflect, and finally we learned we had to disclose,” says AJ. “Obviously, it’s important that you convey enthusiasm in your response, because no matter how boring your job is, if you don’t explain it in an enthusiastic way, the other person is going to completely tune out. No matter what it is you do — even if you’re not enthusiastic about it — we want to start explaining things on an emotional level.”
Johnny says there are three important pieces to any elevator pitch:
- Your credentials: what makes you qualified to do what you do?
- Your affinity: beyond a regular paycheck, why do you do what you do — what do you want and need from it?
- Your value: How can what you do be of service to the person in front of you?
To give us an idea of how to put these pieces together in a way that’s useful, AJ reminds us of what constitutes an elevator pitch (or defines it for those hearing the term for the first time): “It’s called an elevator pitch for a reason. It’s meant to be brief, succinct, concise, and to the point. So that if we were to ride an elevator together for a few floors, I could very quickly understand what it is that you do and how I could help you — if there’s a chance for me to help you.”
Think of it as networking on its most distilled level. You don’t use the brief time you have with someone to throw every last chapter of your life’s story their way. You want to give them just enough information to understand your credentials, your affinity, and your value in a way that makes you memorable. And then, if the occasion arises that they need someone who does what you do, you’re the first one they think of.
To make sure we’re conveying everything we want in an elevator pitch and that the recipe is perfect — with just the right amount of this without too much of that — we can thank 21st century technology for making it easy: the smartphone. Every phone these days has a way to easily record video, so practice your pitch and play it back until it rings true to you. In this way, you can ensure that not only what you’re saying is on target, but the way you’re saying it is on target as well.
“The easiest way to do this is to pull up the pitch in a Word document or a Google document on your computer,” says AJ. “Have it right in front of you and read through it a few times. Then click record on that [phone or] webcam and pay close attention to your facial expressions. I know we’ve talked about this in previous toolbox episodes, but it’s very important along with our pitch that we display enthusiasm and excitement to be sharing this with the other person through our facial expressions…through emoting.”
In other words, we want to avoid the common tendency to be bone dry and stoic — this isn’t the time to downplay what we do. We want to make sure our enthusiasm rubs off on the person listening to our elevator pitch; we don’t want them to tune out.
“So when you play back that video…pay close attention to your facial expressions and make sure that they’re seeing warmth, some smile, and some enthusiasm through your facial expressions as you are pitching,” AJ says.
“Then, at some point,” says Johnny, “you’ve got to take it in front of somebody. So the first person…ask a close friend. A good friend who you trust who will give you some honest feedback…and to give a few questions back and forth about what you do.”
He adds that you’ll also get the benefit of the Ben Franklin Effect — the phenomenon described by Benjamin Franklin as the psychological closeness someone feels toward you when they agree to do a favor for you. It may sound bizarre, but the human brain never ceases to surprise.
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about why you want to avoid jargon in your elevator pitch, how entrepreneur Stephen Meade broke the news to AJ and Jordan that their initial elevator pitch was horrible and used something called the Tornado Technique to help them improve it, why we should reverse engineer our elevator pitch to determine if it’s memorable to others by first being memorable to us, what we can learn from other people’s elevator pitches, how we can maximize the impact of our body language during an elevator pitch, and lots more.
If you enjoyed this session with AoC, let us know by clicking on the link below and sending us a quick shout out at Twitter:
Resources from this episode:
- The Social Capital Networking Intensive (for men and women)
- Stephen Meade explains the Tornado Technique
- The Ben Franklin Effect
- The Dunning–Kruger Effect
- Other AoC Toolbox episodes
- The Art of Charm at Twitter
You’ll also like:
- The Art of Charm Challenge (click here or text 38470 in the US)
- The Art of Charm Bootcamps
- Best of The Art of Charm Podcast
- The Art of Charm Toolbox
- The Art of Charm Toolbox for Women
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