How impressive is your elevator pitch?

What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition? And more importantly, how do you put your proposition forward to employers, colleagues and even clients?

We have all had interviews where we have had to answer the question, ‘Tell me about yourself”, “Why should I hire you over the other candidates applying for this role?”, “What can you offer our organisation over everyone else?’ But how often do we tend to really reflect on the answer to these questions without it just being ‘rehearsed’?

With human nature I tend to think that a lot of the time we focus on the negative aspects of what we do as a means of improvement for the future. And while it is a good thing to learn from our past mistakes, we also need to reflect on our achievements and strengths in order to grow and step up the ladder towards career success.

Our “elevator pitch” should be a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes someone to ride the elevator.

Not only will having a ‘perfect pitch’ be advantageous for potential employment or even a job promotion, but this will also save you on any awkward moments or situations where someone may start that conversation with, ‘What do you do for a living? What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your goals?’

Laura Katen from the Daily Muse outlines eight very simple steps in how to nail your elevator speech:

1. Start with a Blank Canvas – Take a blank piece of paper and number it from one to 10. Then, fill in the most important bits of information that you want to convey about yourself, your service or product, or your company.

2. Red Pen It – Using a different color pen, edit what you’ve drafted with a critical eye. Eliminate any redundancies, unnecessary or unclear information, and broad business jargon.

3. Pick a Card – Grab five index cards, and label them “Who I Am,” “What I Do,” “How I Do It,” “Why I Do It,” and “Who I Do It For.”

4. Get in Order – Organise the cards in a logical order, making sure the most important information is first. Remember, you often only have a few seconds to communicate with someone. If you get cut off, what would you want her to walk away remembering?

5. Add an Attention-Getter – Add an interesting fact or stat to use at the beginning of your speech. Your goal is to immediately engage someone so that he or she is intrigued and wants to learn more.

6. Practice! – Recite your pitch to close someone who can be objective, and ask for constructive feedback (although we love our friends and families, sometimes they think we can do no wrong!).

7. Record Your Pitch – Once you’ve gotten feedback and honed your pitch even further, record yourself saying it. Really listen to what you’re saying—make sure you’re not repeating words and that you’re sending the message you really want to convey.

8. Ride the Elevator – The next time you ride an elevator (alone), practice your speech.

Now by all means I am not saying next time you are in an elevator to immediately launch into conversation about yourself to a stranger and make it seem like you are bragging about your accomplishments. However, when the opportunity presents itself and the individual asks you an opening question, the tips above should help you deliver yourself in a more confident way.

Don’t be afraid to outline your accomplishments and skills, because they define who we are today just as much as what mistakes and learning curves that you have taken in life. So be proud of what you have achieved!