Networking is a staple of every career. Attending events such as job fairs or open houses for different companies serve as a great way to make new connections. However, if you’ve ever been to one of these events, you know that the time allotted to actually make these meaningful connections is very short. To make the most of this, many individuals opt to prepare an elevator pitch.

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

The goal of an elevator pitch is to spark your audience’s interest and discuss how you could benefit a company or individual, all within 30 to 60 seconds. The time span here is short on purpose because if it’s any longer, you risk losing your audience’s attention. On the contrary, if it’s any shorter than 30 seconds you may miss important information and won’t have enough time to sell yourself or your brand.

How to Write It:

Of course, you want to include whatever information sets YOU apart. But there are some other key questions to touch on during your elevator pitch. Be sure to mention who you work with, what you do and what role you play, and the results you achieve. Also, highlight your best skills in order to help emphasize the change or success you bring to your role or to a company as a whole.

If you’re using the elevator pitch to market yourself for jobs, you want to focus on your skills and impact. If you’re an entrepreneur and need investors to help your business take off, highlight the mutual benefits in your pitch. Recall your purpose in talking to the individual and shape your pitch around that. Be sure to keep it simple though, as time is limited and you don’t want the audience to lose sight of your goal. It’s also incredibly important that you don’t use jargon. Talking about your industry can make it tempting to do so, but resist the urge. This could alienate the person you are attempting to connect with.

Using an Elevator Pitch Effectively:

An elevator pitch is oftentimes the first impression. Keep this in mind as you want to be remembered by your audience. Having business cards on hand is a great way to help with this. Clearly giving people your contact information after introducing who you are and what you do, is sure to make them take note of your name.

Elevator pitches can be used outside of networking events too. They are a great addition to your LinkedIn summary or even your Twitter bio if you use the platform! In addition, they can be used as a great answer when you are asked “tell me about yourself” in an interview.

Lastly, don’t forget to practice your pitch! You don’t want it to sound robotic and pre-meditated, but you also don’t want to forget your plan and waste the time you have to network. Rehearsing the main points and speaking with a positive attitude will help you be prepared to use your elevator pitch when the time comes!