The elevator pitch is one of your most important self-marketing tools. If you can master the art of quickly telling people who you are and what you do, you'll be able to gain the needed attention to get where you want to be.
When it's your chance to shine, avoid these crucial mistakes in your elevator pitch that can turn prospects off instead of on.
Mistake #1: Rushing through it
Elevator pitches are so named because they are supposed to be short and efficient; however, it's always better to take your time and just cover the highlights of your work, rather than hurrying through every little detail you think might be relevant.
The most common place you'll be giving an elevator pitch is not in an elevator, but at a business networking event where everybody is expected to stand, introduce themselves and tell the others who they are and what they do. In such cases, don't start talking as soon as you're called on. Instead, take a few seconds to stand up and get ready to speak. That way, your fellow business people will have the opportunity to switch their focus from the previous speaker to you.
Similarly, don't speak too quickly when giving your elevator pitch. People won't be able to understand what you're saying and you won't make a good impression.
Mistake #2: Lack of preparation
You never know when you may have the opportunity to present your elevator pitch. You may run into someone on the street, in a business meeting or at a coffee shop who is a perfect prospect for your business.
That's why it's vital to practice your elevator pitch at home before you ever use it. If you don't prepare in advance, one of two things will happen:
1. You'll stumble through it, peppering your speech with "ums," "ahs," "you knows" and other filler words.
2. You'll rush in an attempt to get it all in.
Neither of these approaches is a good thing. You need to ensure your speech is natural, exciting and interesting. You also don't want to appear unprofessional or look as though you lack confidence.
Mistake #3: Reciting a memorized speech
Some people get so nervous about the prospect of doing an elevator speech that they memorize a short paragraph about what they do. Unfortunately, when you memorize a speech, people can tell and it won't sound natural.
In addition, when you memorize a speech, you can't vary it in order to suit your audience. You don't want to give your speech exactly the same way every time you give it. You want to get the same basic ideas across while retaining interest and making connections with your audience.
Mistake #4: Providing your name first
Some people approach the elevator speech like this: "My name is John Smith and I'm from ABC Company." The problem with this is that you don't start off with anything of interest or value to your audience. It is much better to start the speech off with an interesting hook--a comment, question or quote that grabs a listener's attention--and then provide your name and the business name towards the end of the speech. That way, your audience pays attention and begins to see how you might be able to help them.