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5 tips on how to perfect your elevator pitch

A great elevator pitch can transport you from the lobby to the top floor in a matter of 30 seconds. (Shutterstock)

You're a genius, but you've got only seconds to prove it. With a perfect elevator pitch, you'll know exactly what to convey about who you are and what you can bring to the table. It's a necessity for businesspersons looking for investors and clients and a secret weapon for job seekers. If you live in the Philadelphia or Chicago areas, you'll have the chance for your pitch to be heard by millions. Comcast Business is bringing Shark Tank casting calls to Philadelphia on June 10 and Chicago on June 13, giving local entrepreneurs the chance to grow their business.

Whether you're looking for capital or a job, you're looking for someone to invest in you first. Check out these tips on how to get people interested and invested in just 30 seconds.

1. Keep it brief


Thirty seconds can feel like a lifetime when you're listening to someone you don't want to listen to, and a brief flash when you want to hear more. Focus on communicating two things: who you are and what your goal is.

Don't try to explain every detail; the idea if the elevator pitch is to keep it brief. Keep your ideas simple and digestible. Leave them wanting more, or risk monopolizing the conversation.

2. Get the right tools beforehand.


Before you go through the trouble of explaining who you are and why we need you, how are you going to back up your claims? The internet is driving innovation and you need to make sure that you have the tools to make it happen. In this day and age, you'll need to be able to interface with prospective investors and clients via phone and video chat, quickly deliver media and assets to them, maintain a solid web pretense to establish easy connectivity and credibility, and all of this needs to be mobile-friendly and within your budget.

If you're looking to grow your business (or even start one), you'll need fast and reliable internet with wi-fi and hotspots included so you can take your business with you. Comcast Business provides affordable business solutions packages that should fit any businessperson's needs, whether they're a solo entrepreneur or running a full-scale enterprise.

Some of the most fresh and exciting startups today had humble beginnings by using modern and affordable internet-based technology to their advantage. Pop-up greeting card company Lovepop, which received investment on Shark Tank last year, had already established the foundation of their company with an excellent e-commerce website before they gave their pitch, calling technology a "brand enabler."

In just one month after their appearance on the show, the Lovepop website booked more than 30 times the sales than the previous year. They earned over $1,000,000 and could afford to increase their company's employees from three to 25 in a month. All because they had invested in order to get investment.

3. Know who you're talking to and what you want.


If you recite your elevator pitch intended for a successful CEO to a low-level manager, you'll risk coming off as too scripted. You need to be able to tailor your elevator pitch to different people with different goals, and tweaked at a moment's notice, so do yourself a favor and practice several.

Just as important as knowing who you're talking to, you must know what you want from other person and how you're going to segue into that part of the conversation. You don't want to just come out and ask them for something which may make them uncomfortable, but instead offer your service to help them get something. Offer what you want to get; help them get what they want.

A great way to personalize your elevator pitch is including a question, perhaps to lead to you into the second half of your pitch. Questions engage people, inherently producing personalization, and you'll get better insight into their perspective before you prattle on for too long.

Avoid yes or no questions as much as possible, and try to be specific enough to gear the conversation back to your skill set.

Examples:

"How does your company handle doing ___?"

"What are your company's plans for the future in ___?"

Now fill in the blanks with your industry or skill set. Their reply is going to set you up to explain how you can help them.



4. Be specific by keeping it simple.


If someone asks you 'what are you best at?,' make sure you know the answer. If you have a broad set of skills or experience, you need to simplify those with a common thread. If you're unsure about what that common thread is, think about the one or two elements that makes you uniquely great at what you do. Look at your transferable skills such as communication, human relations, research, planning, organization, and narrow your focus.

Just remember, there's no time for tech talk or esoteric industry jargon that the other person might not understand, or is lacking perspective on. This also applies to job titles, which is why you should never just state your title as 'what I do.'

'What I do' should be 'what I do for others.' Include your unique selling point and one or two of your professional accomplishments, such as awards and certifications. Just make sure it's all focused on one specific skill set and that both grandparents and grandchildren can understand it.

Examples:

"I work in ___, for which I'm ____ certified, and I excel at ___ so I can better assist people."

"I'm a ___, for which I received an award for in ___ for helping people do ___."

"I do ___ so businesses can ___ more effectively.

"I'm a ____ in the ___ industry, and I help people do ___ so ___ can happen."


You can elaborate more in the following sentence, just get the main bullet points out first. Write it down, but make sure to practice it out loud so it rolls off the tongue nicely.

5. Be yourself.


Make it a conversation between two people. Nobody wants to invest in a drone that will just recite the training manual back to them, but a person with a mind of their own who is capable of making decisions based on intuition as well as hard data. This is your unique selling point as a person. At the end of the day, we work with people, we deal with human beings, and you shouldn't exclude your personality for fear of judgement. If you're quirky and fun, be quirky and fun. If you're dry and witty, be dry and witty.

Some jobs significantly depend on personality types. Warm, empathetic people may work great in human relations and customer service, while charismatic types may work great in sales and PR, but just because you don't fit the mold doesn't mean you're not right for the job. You might be the person that can bring the much-needed outside perspective that will push their company into new areas they've never before considered. So don't sell yourself short, and if you feel your personality makes you good at what you do, say it.

Infuse your personality into your elevator pitch. Be natural. Mention your ambitions, your outside passions, your inspirations, what helped you become who you are, and what makes you excited to come to work. Talk about how you had your big epiphany in response to a friend's social media post, or how you learned something new from someone on your kickball team. You should never be ashamed of letting people get to know you a little bit, and if you are, it will come off as being guarded and nervous -- the ultimate investment repellant.

Smile, have fun, be you and be confident in who are are.

Comcast Business is bringing Shark Tank casting calls to Philadelphia on Friday, June 10 and Chicago on Monday, June 13. Numbered wristbands will be distributed at each event from 9-11 a.m.

For locations and additional details please visit PitchSharkTank.com. Participants are encouraged to fill out the application in advance.


Story sponsored by Comcast Business.

Related Topics:
businessshark tankinvestingjobscareer advicesmall businesssocietycareers

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