We all dread it: the 30-second pitch. Also known informally as the “elevator speech.”
Actually, 30 seconds might be generous. Sometimes you get more like 10, and that’s on a good day when your half-stale fortune cookie from lunch predicted you would be unusually able to express yourself.
Maybe you’re pitching a new prospect over the coffee shop table. Maybe you’re speaking to a roomful of attendees at a networking event. Whatever the setting, the phrase “Tell me about yourself” (whether verbal or implied) can strike anxiety in the heart of even the most confident woman.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With the right pitch, your 30 seconds (or 10 or 15) will roll right off your tongue and be gone in a flash. You’ll be sitting down again shortly, knowing that you totally owned the room. And I hope you brought your business cards, because you’re going to need a whole stack of them. Not to mention a lot of time on your calendar for all the juicy follow-ups.
So how do you GET from Total Terror into 30-Second Zen? Here are my tried-and-true tips for stepping up and standing out--the serene way--like the woman of influence you know you are:
1. Actually know who you are and what you have to offer.
This is the simple reason most pitches fail. Most women business owners are not clear on exactly what their value is, or why people should hire them. When you are not clear, you are nervous, and when you are nervous, you ramble. Get absolutely 100% clear on what contribution you make to the world, and why other people should care, and you’ll find your pitch slimming itself down to meet the size requirement. Because 10 clear words are so much better than 100 fuzzy ones.
(PS - If you find yourself struggling to express your value, apply for a free business and brand audit to get an outside perspective on what you really have to offer your exact ideal customer! This FREE tool can help you get this fundamental clarity of expression about who you are, what you do, and why it matters, so you can start making strides forward in your business and in building your platform.)
2. Use the magic combination of elements in your formula.
Audiences are like a ham radio operator. They scan for certain signals and frequencies that they can tune into. There are certain things they’ll be looking for in your pitch--like “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?” And “What makes her different?” Hit on these high notes, and they won’t be able to help but hear you. I have actually had women run up to me after a 30-second pitch and say, “That’s me. I’m your ideal client.” That’s when you know that you’ve hit the right nerve--because you said what that type of person actually needed and wanted to hear.
3. Leverage the RIGHT words. (Less is more.)
You don’t need sixteen adjectives to describe yourself or the women you serve. Pick one or two useful ones that really get at the essence of things. When I hit on “heart centered” and “high achieving” for mine, I knew I had the winning combination, because those two terms capture the critical qualities of the woman I want to serve and am best able to serve. They’ll also filter out the women who should be working with someone else. Economy of language is critical in a pitch. Don’t settle for a word or phrase if it doesn’t feel perfect.
4. Focus on the results your clients will experience--not your skills or your experience.
Let’s face it: no one cares what you DO. They care who you ARE and what change you can help THEM make. So leave out the part about your certifications and your 20 years’ experience, and focus on what your clients achieve when they are done working with you. This is about connecting with the emotions of the right woman, so she can literally see and feel the pull toward you. She won’t be able to help herself, because she knows not just about you, but about how her life can change in a way that deeply matters to her.
5. Actually keep your pitch to 30 seconds.
Nothing is less attractive than a 30-second pitch that runs into 45- or 60-seconds. Especially when the moderator keeps asking you to stop and you keep talking over her. (Yes, I actually witnessed this at a recent networking event--and from a marketing professional who should have known how to get her value heard within the time parameters! Ick.) When you use tips 1-4 plus tip 6 (below) it’s not hard to stay on time.
6. Practice, practice, practice.
Practice in front of the mirror. Practice with your cat, dog or canary. Practice with your significant other. Practice with the guy on the street who asks you about what you do. Practice in the shower. The point is: practice all the time. And, if you’re looking for an easy way to get your practice in -- write your mission statement, vision and pitch out every single day as part of your meditating or mind-setting for the day. You’ll get extra practice that way AND reinforce the message with the eye-hand connection.
Delivering your value to another human being doesn’t have to be tough. When you know exactly what makes you valuable and rely on a few good tricks to make the language pithy and full of pop, you’ll be rocking the room before you even now it.
And remember--at the end of the day, the most powerful pitch isn’t the one you give, but the one you live. Integrity and consistency cannot be captured in words, but they will do more than anything else to sell you and your message.
Now, go rock your pitch!