But it was a big deal – apparently some big football game. Anyway, one of the questions I asked and was asked at least 30 times was simple, “What do you do?”
The Elevator Pitch
Do you get the question as often as I do? Do you have an “elevator pitch” ready the moment you hear the question? The notion of an elevator pitch is that you only have a brief ride on an elevator with someone.
And you can’t take all the time up – you have to end, so that they can ask you more…and invite you to walk with them (or give you their number).
So you have 25 seconds. What’s your answer?
Your elevator pitch is your chance to get it out there – your definition of you. But guess what? Most of us haven’t practiced it. Most of us don’t think about it.
And left to our own devices we come across as if we don’t really know what we do, or we give someone our title (which doesn’t always say what we do either), or we come across as arrogant jerks that don’t invite further engagement.
You don’t want to blow it!
The trick, I find, is to answer with enough detail that it says something, but with enough enigma to invite a follow-up question.
I know most of the articles out there like to give you 3, 5 or 12 things to do, but I just want to give you one.
Get help to edit your life
You’ve seen the movies right? They’re so well done – they tell a great story. But movies aren’t made that way. A script is written. Actors deliver lines. Cameramen shoot film.
But it’s the editor who creates the story from all the footage they have. If they’re lucky, it bears a close resemblance to the film’s script. But that’s not always the case.
Those editors don’t create. They reduce.
The problem with most of our stories is that there’s too much there. You need someone to be the sculptor and say, “I just took everything away that wasn’t the statue” when asked how they created beauty from a slab of rock.
Here’s what I do with people when I’m helping them edit their life. I ask them to tell me their story – and to take as much time as they need.
- I listen.
- I explore.
- I look for themes.
- I connect them.
- And I share back a condensed version.
Often, the result is one or two sentences. Easily spoken in 25 seconds or less.
Here’s mine. What’s yours?
My day job is to help run a software company, but that’s the cover for the real work I do.
I find remarkable people, truly remarkable (who don’t even know it), and I help them anticipate the challenges they’ll face and accelerate thru them to become high performers.
Here’s what I know. Everyone is different. Some people stop me and want to talk about my software company. Others stop me to ask how I define remarkable. Others want to talk about the kinds of help I offer. And still others want to define high performers.
I never know where the conversation will go. But more often than not, it goes somewhere. And that’s the “action” I’m looking for from my elevator pitch.
So what’s yours? Write it in the comments below. Or email me at email@example.com. Or find a friend and get their help to start editing your story.
But whatever you do – make sure you have an answer to the question.