The art of pitching has been around for centuries and has evolved over the past few decades. Not only is this a way to captivate employers and investors, but it's a critical skill to know for when you go on internship and job interviews. Now, pitching walks a fine line of confidence and narcissism and it's important to know what to say and how to say it. Today's post is to help those who are currently searching for internships, research projects, creative projects, and other professional opportunities and want to pitch their qualities to employers.
The question "tell me your elevator pitch" came up in several internship interviews this application season and the worst thing you can do in a moment like this is to not have anything prepared at all. The first thing to know is that this pitch needs to be short. It's not a speech, it's a summary of who you are and what you plan to accomplish. Keep it short. Remember, it's an elevator pitch so if you can't wrap things up in the time the elevator doors close and open again, then it's too long.
1. Start with your story. When you share your story make sure you share your motivation in life and share your passions. Don't share your life story. Simply put, employers don't care about your siblings or the sport you played growing up. Those things don't address why you are a valuable asset to any team. Let your story be the vehicle by which you share your interests and motivation in life, while creating a connection to who you are pitching to. Additionally, your story should share what you do with others, what you do through others, and what you do for others. By addressing these three areas, whoever you're pitching to can quickly understand your general purpose for the pitch.
2. Now that your story has been shared, address what you want to do in the future. Sharing your future plans should come with "I believe" statements. These statements can further enhance your goals you shared in the beginning of your pitch. Follow your "I believe" statements, with "because" statements. Because statements increase audience compliance and result in a more positive attitude from the people you are pitching to.
3. From there, share your unique selling proposition. In other words, share why you are the person to be hired over others. What makes you unique from the competition. Everyone offers something different to a workplace. Unique personalities add dynamics to the work place which brings about interesting ideas, creative processes, and overall growth. Employers want to know what makes you dynamic and unique. Don't wait for them to ask and don't leave them guessing. Be explicit in saying what your unique qualities are and why those are necessary to accomplish your goals.
4. Answer the questions why you, why this, why now? Every person you pitch to will wonder these three questions. Anticipate them and address them. These simple questions answer why you are a valuable asset, why offering you an opportunity is vital and smart, and why the timing is perfect. Let whoever is listening know that you are valuable and another offer will come along soon if they don't take a chance you now. It's okay to market yourself as a valuable piece of any team. Bragging about why you are a critical piece to success is important.
5. Close leaving an open line of communication. If you pitch correctly, the person you're pitching to will want to know more. After all, this is a brief insight to your importance, not a speech. This is the appetizer, not the main course. A strong closing should beg the question "how can we collaborate?" or "how can I contact you?". Make sure to have informative business cards on you at all times with your contact information, LinkedIn, and social media if necessary.
When pitching, remember to start off strong. Don't doubt yourself. Using disclaimers like "I don't know if this matters but..." or hesitations like "um" show doubt. Also avoid tag questions like "don't you think?". Seeking approval of others shows self-doubt in your own ideas. All of these represent powerless language and a lack of credibility. Also make sure that you keep your nonverbal language professional. What you wear, how you stand, and what you do with your hands all speak volumes about your professionalism and contribute to the quality of your pitch. By following these few simple steps, you are positioning yourself and your qualities in a positive light with employers and team members to help you accomplish your goals.
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