In my career advice post for Purple Clover, I talk about the two characteristics every elevator pitch should have:
Do you freeze up when you have to introduce yourself? Maybe you’re in transition and feel like you have 20 seconds to prove your professional worth to everyone you meet. Or you’ve launched a business and worry that people don’t know what you do (or worse, they don’t care). While it’s true that the way you introduce yourself is important, you’re putting too much pressure on yourself if you’re trying to get a job lead or entice a prospective client with just your pitch. Your introduction is just that — an introduction, a beginning, a start. The best introductions have two things in common:
A lot of venues where you get a chance to use your introduction – career fairs, conferences, professional association meetings — are crowded with lots of similar people. Most people will offer their name and their job or business. Maybe they’ll explain a little bit about what they do. After meeting multiple people with such similar introductions, it’s hard to remember who’s who.
If you want your introduction to lead to another conversation, that new acquaintance needs to remember you enough to seek you out again. You need to include something the listener can easily remember, regardless of how many other people s/he meets that night. This might be professional – being employee #3 in a now-famous start-up – or it might be personal – an unusual hobby not normally associated with your trade (I’m a career consultant/ stand-up comic, and yes, I work that into many of my introductions).
Of course, you still want your introduction to flow and make sense, so you can’t just lob in something memorable for the shock value. I once met a female banker who raced cars as a hobby – car racing is unusual enough to be memorable but still fits in with the type-A, intense career she is seeking. For your own memorable pitch, experiment with blending your personal and professional sides. Don’t feel like you have to be all business all the time.
Continue reading for trait #2 at Purple Clover: What The Best Introductions Have In Common.