Elevator Pitches for Dummies

Angie Weinberger

Elevator Pitches for Dummies

I’m teaching others how to do a two-minute elevator pitch. But I’m less than perfect when it comes to pitching myself. I sometimes have to rush to an event and am not well prepared. Once, I saw the issue coming when more and more other coaches (competition!) entered the hall. It was like a movie scene. The potential clients came streaming towards us as if they had thought about it. I ended up chatting with one woman. Then the coordinator asked us to pitch. I wanted to use storytelling, but it did not fit into her structure, and (damn!) I had not even written down what to say. It was a matter of unpreparedness because I had no clue what to expect there.
I focussed on being relaxed and present at the moment.
I said, “I’m Angie Weinberger. I work with international professionals in Zurich and Basel and help them find work or start a business. And I recently discovered that I like nerds.”
A few giggles. I managed to make them remember me.
Out of 16 potential clients, I spoke to seven. Many referred to themselves as introverts or nerds. I’m unsure if any of these introverts will work with me, but I had a great time. I thought, “I will need to walk my talk on networking.” First of all, I asked every woman if she had a business card. Only the last one had one.
Then I asked a few questions. Often I found that they needed a piece of information that I could easily send to them. I asked them for their email IDs. My mobile batteries are flat in such situations, so I wrote the email IDs into a notebook. This is old school, but it worked. I also took notes on the information they gave about themselves. I managed to take home six email IDs and promised different follow-ups. This might not lead to any business, but it was good practice for me and them. It showed me again how many professionals go to an event unprepared.
You can make an impression at such an event only if you are a helpful resource and if you put your agenda on hold. You want the new contact to remember you until you follow up with them. I stayed until the end. My feet and back hurt, but I smiled.

1 – Robots, Recruiters, and Rain

I also feel even more empathic with you after this experience. “Selling” yourself is hard work. Most of the time, we do not learn to become a salesperson of our professional package. Not only do we have to develop great and consistent branding. The message has to be clear to a large target audience too. We will need to go through several filters of robots and recruiters. When we finally landed an interview, it was a day with rain (or snow), we spilled salad sauce on our freshly ironed shirts, and the train was late for once. When you are in such a position, there is only one thing you can do: breathe out, have a glass of still water, and speak slowly. Most of all: Be present.

2 – Become a “Rockstar” in your Niche

To get out of the sales position, you want to become a superstar so you are top-of-mind of a potential manager and do not have to rely on the cumbersome application process. You want to be in a position where you come up in the top ten of the manager’s mind. Sheryl Sandberg wrote in “Lean In” that you need to write down your career goal as being #1 in a profession (globally). I am not saying that you have to be #1 globally, but you might want to be in a top ten position in your geographical area and your niche. What’s the point of being #1 in Digital Media when you don’t want to move to Abu Dhabi, London, or Texas for your next role? Let’s be optimistic and ambitious but stay a bit humble.

3 – Be a Resource

You have tools, templates, and knowledge to share. You have experiences, tips, and contacts you can help others with. Learn to become a resource as if everyone you connect with is a colleague or a friend. If you train your attitude, you will learn that helping others as a default gives you satisfaction. And if you feel you have nothing to share, you can always encourage the other person. We all need a little appreciation once in a while.

4 – Change your Approach from Taker to Giver

My clients practice changing their elevator pitches. One key skill you must learn to become a giver is to ask sensitive questions instead of talking all the time. Another skill is to listen. Check out other blog posts on networking approaches here.

We will also shortly publish “The Global Rockstar Album“, Angie Weinberger’s new book for managers and nomads who want to bring purpose, performance, and productivity to their work while becoming more inclusive servant leaders. Sign up here to learn more about our publications. 


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