#60Day Challenge, Day 16: Build Your Elevator Pitch

#60Day 16 of 60After taking Day 15 to thank those who have helped you get this far in the challenge, Day 16 of the #60Day Challenge is all about you… literally. Today you’ll begin a 2-day process to build the elevator pitch you’ll use at those informational interviews you’ve scheduled, the Twitter chats you’ll attend, and much more…

Ah, the elevator pitch. The 30-seconds of speaking that baffles so many, and scares so many more.

Why is the elevator pitch so gut-wrenching? Why do most young professionals put off perfecting their “all about me” commercial?

Because they’ve been taught to think the elevator pitch must be… perfect. Perfect words. Perfect cadence. Perfect delivery.

And this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The elevator pitch was never designed to be anything but a structured yet conversational introduction to a new contact. Key word: conversational. And when was the last time you had a conversation that was rehearsed to perfection, where every word was planned out; every pause deliberately scheduled?

That doesn’t happen in real life. And the person you deliver your pitch to knows that. They expect a human behind those words; a real person. Not some automaton blurting out a planned soliloquy where your eyes go upward while you try to remember, then perfectly recite, all the words.

So we’re going to spend Day 15 “unteaching” what you think you know about an elevator pitch. We’re going to help you remove all the anxiety, and enable you to treat those 30 seconds as nothing more than they are: a confident self-introduction that leaves the recipient wanting more. More conversation. More answers. More you.

To begin this process, you must answer three questions:

  1. Who am I and what do I want to do with my life?
  2. What am I really, really good at?
  3. What problem am I going to solve?

As you are answering, keep in mind:

  • Keywords and clichés are momentum killers (that includes all versions of “I want to change the world”)
  • When answering the “really good at” question, confine your answers to a marketable skill (being really, really good at pop culture trivia doesn’t help here)
  • Be specific to the career path you’ve chosen (note we didn’t say “the major you’ve chosen” or “the school I’m going to” – those things imply you are nothing but a student, and no one hires a student)
  • You are not yet formulating your elevator pitch; don’t worry about wordsmithing yet… that will come tomorrow; for now, just answer the questions

Finally, before you go off to complete today’s challenge, we’ll leave you with an example of a really bad elevator pitch (because we all learn just as much from the mistakes of others as we do our own… and because we don’t want you to run full-speed into this all-too-common mistake either today or tomorrow):

“I am a student at the University of Oregon, graduating in May 2014 with a degree in Computer Science. My goal is to enter the workforce where I can utilize my people skills and team-first approach to help a company grow. My passion, however, is to use my education to bring change to the world.”

This, or something like this, is what nearly every college student says when asked for an elevator pitch. Not you. You are going to be different. And because you’ll be different, you’ll be remembered.

Now… go to work!

To jump to Day 17, and Part 2 of the elevator pitch task, click here…

 

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