Elevator pitches are in fashion at the moment…
You probably already know about elevator pitches, but do you have a personal elevator pitch?
Every now and again, a common business practice gets a ‘make-over’ and a new trend begins. Companies have always tended to have written text to offer a description of their business and a guide for employees.
Examples of this include slogans, mission statements, and ‘about us’ pages. A recent trend is to define an ‘elevator pitch’. The object being that we are able to define who we work for, and what we do in a concise and descriptive manner – in the time it takes to travel in an elevator with someone.
The average manager or executive would be overjoyed if every single staff member was able to explain the same value proposition, and to be dynamic ambassadors for the company. More importantly, you should be able to present yourself in the same manner, for personal and professional reasons.
Are you a boss? Employee? Consultant? Small business owner? A combination of these?
In the energy industry, the line between employee, boss, company representative and consultant is blurred. In fact, you can be the same person, but perform each of these roles within a fairly short period of time. Founders of small companies can be all these things and more, all at the same time.
For example, you may be a consultant working on a contractual basis for a large corporation. The job may include attending a conference where you are also seen as a business owner because of your own company that can also contract business. You might also be seen by some as an industry expert, more than a business owner or consultant.
Confusing? it can be…
Which is why you should create a personal elevator pitch. This way you can quickly explain who you are, what you do and who you do it for. A descriptive but pithy explanation will create the (deserved) impression that you are dynamic, sophisticated, and a clear communicator.
Whilst you might have different job titles over time, there is likely to be a core skill set that you are providing again and again.
In an elevator, no-one will want to know where you went to school, or even your job title or accolades. These aspects look good on a CV or resume, but come over as self indulged in person. If you are in ‘work mode’ then it will be a more effective use of time to focus on the practical service that you provide, and the main problems that you solve.
The Personal Elevator Pitch creation guide:
In as few words as possible, it makes sense to cover these 4 points:
- INTRODUCTION (Who you are)
- VALUE PROPOSITION (The result that you achieve)
- CLIENT AVATAR (Your typical/target/best client)
- CLOSE (The result you want from the elevator pitch)
INTRODUCTION The introduction could be as simple as your name, and the most relevant point about your current role.
Instead of saying:
“Hi, I’m John, I have worked in the oil and gas business for 15 years, for 3 different companies. My roles have included Drilling Engineer, Senior Drilling Engineer and Night Drilling Supervisor”.
You might just say:
“Hi, I’m John, a Drilling Engineer.”
… The reason why you make the intro short, is that people generally aren’t interested, but by not introducing yourself the conversation might seem weird due to social convention.
VALUE PROPOSITION In as few words as possible, you want to convey the value that you have to offer, based on a potential tangible result. Describing the mechanics of what you do is irrelevant to your objective, and to any that the listener might have. If you happen to be speaking to a potential client or employer they will already know what your job entails.
So, instead of:
“I work with the reservoir management team and am involved in tracking, calculating drilling progress…”
You might want to say something results oriented such as:
“Every project that I am involved in seems to come in under budget and ahead of schedule, I always seem to be at the centre of a winning team.”
This ‘humble brag’ indicates that you are the best at what you do, but at the same time a team player that gives credit to others.
CLIENT AVATAR The hope is that you happen to be talking to your next client or employer in the elevator. You will want to quickly describe that person or company representative.
You might say something like:
“I’m always careful about the companies that I work with. I want to know that they are the most professional, safe and efficient. I need to make sure that they meet my standards, as I know that I can meet theirs.”
CLOSE For those who feel awkward about the close…
It wouldn’t be a pitch without a close!
No-one will ever produce a work contract or get their cheque book out in an elevator of course, so a close needs to be related to a further opportunity. A suggestion of coffee, or an exchange of business cards will suffice.
Without a close, this article might be called a ‘personal elevator chit-chat’ or a ‘personal elevator crazy guy over-sharing’.
After you tell the listener who you are, what you achieve, and who you do it for, someone who needs what you have to offer will respond positively. This might lead to an interview offer, or an invitation for coffee or a phone conversation.
Whats the worst case scenario? A stranger feels your positive energy and is impressed that you are grabbing life by the balls? In a way, it will be a compliment that you decided to approach and share a part of yourself, after all you wouldn’t do this for everyone (hopefully not).
Always be ready to give a PEP talk
Finally, a personal elevator pitch (PEP) does not have to take place in an elevator, it can happen anywhere. By having the personal elevator pitch prepared and rehearsed, it can be presented anywhere at any time.
Your personal elevator pitch could be life changing, for the better! You don’t get long to make a good impression with a new person. Each potential interaction could develop your career.
Or, you could treat your elevator pitch more like a condom. It is better to have it prepared and not need it, than to need it and not have it. The same situation might occur, awkward fumbling and a lost opportunity!