Mastering the Elevator Pitch

Mastering your elevator pitch is both an art and a science. It’s not a task you should take lightly, as your elevator pitch could make or break your career. Your elevator pitch is often your first impression to potential business partners, investors, clients, employers and all other professionals.

 

From time-tested guidelines to recent trends, here are the best practices for mastering your elevator pitch.

 

Timing Is Everything

Busy professionals can’t waste a minute of their precious time. We’ve all been told that an elevator pitch shouldn’t exceed 30-seconds, but is someone really going to intently listen for that long? Recent research suggests that an adult’s attention span averages only 8 seconds. Instead of trying to cram your entire resume into the shrinking amount of time someone will listen to you, shift your focus to what really matters. You want them to know what you do, what you need, and who you are.

 

Know Your Audience

Your elevator pitch is quite literally all about you, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tailored to your audience. Tell them what they should know in a way that will hold their attention. You want to leave the best, most memorable impression in the short amount of time you have. If the person you’re speaking to genuinely cares about what you’re saying, that’s immeasurably better than them just passively listening. They’re also more likely to remember you.

 

Showcase Your Expertise

The more trustworthy you prove yourself to be, the more likely someone will buy into what you’re pitching – even if what you’re pitching is yourself or your company. However, rattling off a list of accomplishments sounds boastful, so you should construct a 1-2 sentence story that demonstrates your expertise. It could be how you’re solving a large problem or why you’re uniquely qualified to do so.

 

Be Confident

Even if you are not actually confident, you need to act confident. If you’re anxious, that will come off in your pitch. As cliche as it sounds, you should practice your elevator pitch in front of a mirror or trusted friends. The only way to tell how others might perceive you in conversation is to see for yourself. In addition, repeatedly practicing your elevator pitch will make you more comfortable when delivering it to a real person.  

 

Although a lot is riding on the perfect elevator pitch, remember to take a deep breath and relax before starting the conversation. You’re probably more knowledgeable about your subject matter than the person you’re speaking to. If you’re lucky, you might get some follow-up questions from whomever you’re pitching to, and being prepared for those questions is just as important as the elevator pitch itself.

Entrepreneurship and Your Brand

Graham Zahoruiko Entrepreneurship and Your Brand

 

For any entrepreneurs working on getting their company, product, or service off the ground and into the household vocabulary of average working people, branding must be an indispensable part of your game plan, or else you’re doomed to disappear into obscurity.

When entrepreneurs, marketers, and media agents talk about branding, they’re not necessarily just talking about the name, although the name does play an important role. Consider what pops into your head when you hear the phrase, “Burt’s Bees.” One of the most popular cosmetics and toiletries brands in the US, Burt’s Bees boasts a strong brand that includes more than just its unique name. The immediate connotation of the name “Burt’s Bees” elicits the story of its founder, a beekeeper from Connecticut, it’s distinctive yellow packaging, its use of organic and natural ingredients, and its efficacy at reducing dry skin and lips.

By contrast, consider what pops into your head when you hear the name of a celebrity or public figure, say, Oprah. Again, while she has products, her brand includes more than just her physical appearance. Oprah’s brand includes the way she makes people feel, her positive attitude, her financial prowess, and her social activism. All these aspects that come to mind differentiate Oprah from other wealthy Black talk show hosts in your mind — and it’s those elements of a brand that Entrepreneurs need to harness to ensure success for years to come.

For a company to establish a strong brand, it needs to meet two main criteria. First, it must make it clear what and who it is: What are you selling? To whom are you selling it? How will your life be better after buying the good or service your company is selling? Often, this is accomplished with excellent messaging, clear and concise advertising, and visual cues. Natural foods and cosmetics, for instance, usually call on greens and browns to evoke trees and fields in the buyer’s mind.

In addition to establishing who you are, brands also help to establish who you are not — that is, how are you different and/or better than others in your market or industry? Why should someone choose your product or service over that of your competition? Is your delivery better? Is your quality higher? Are your practices more ethical? Your branding needs to make it clear to your buyers that you offer something different enough that they should forgo their usual habits and pivot towards yours instead.

In today’s hyper-connected world, relevance and engagement are your friends. Many brands have harnessed the power of social media to bring internet trends into brick space and turn likes into sales. Others have turned to internal policies like fair trade suppliers and equitable benefits for employees of all genders and made their HR practices an integral part of their public brand. Still more base their brand on their intimate knowledge of the market and use their position as a thought leader to draw in buyers.

As you delve deeper and deeper into your business plan, always be conscious of your brand, from your LinkedIn header to the copy on your website.

What to Do When You Feel Like You’re Burning Out

Graham-Zahoruiko-Work

Burnout is a prevalent issue that plagues professionals in all industries, particularly entrepreneurs. When you’re in charge of a large group of people or running your own business, there are always hundreds of tasks you need to finish each day. Even though you have so much to do, it likely never seems as though you have enough time. You probably feel exhausted and like you just want to quit.

Use “no”

When you start feeling like you’re experiencing burnout, force yourself to begin saying “no.” If you’re on the verge of burnout with your job, do not take on more projects or responsibilities than you absolutely have to do. Most people will be understanding if you say you already have too much going on. Also, take time to scale back what you’re already working on and see if there’s any areas you can trim.

Schedule time for you

One of the most important items on this list, make sure you take time to look after yourself. Instead of spending every moment of the day focused on work or someone else, take a little time every day to do something you enjoy or just relax. Sit in silence, read a book, or watch an episode of your favorite television show. Scheduling time to take care of yourself makes you feel more calm.

More around

Whether moving around involves a short walk and frequent breaks or a regular workout routine, make sure you’re getting some form of exercise each day. You’ll feel better and your outlook on life will be more positive. You’ll also be healthier, which impacts the rest of your life in positive ways.

Have a no-screen time

No matter how busy you are and how important checking your emails is, you can set a time every night where you won’t have any screen time. Whether it’s just an hour or you refuse to look at your computer and phone at all after a certain time, it’s good to take time off from digital devices. Ideally, you would avoid using a computer or phone at least an hour before you plan on going to bed.

Work in steps

You’ll find it’s more manageable to accomplish your bigger projects if you break them into much smaller intervals. Work toward a goal one step at a time and you’ll feel less like you’re burning out. You’ll also have a greater sense of accomplishment as you complete each step.

Create a support system
The best way to help yourself with burnout is by creating a strong support system. If you’re married, have a roommate, or live with family, you can rely on them to help out with work around the house. You can also connect with friends and family through social events and take some time to get rid of stress. Find one person in your life that you can talk to about your concerns and you’ll feel much better after talking through it.