August 23, 2005
News & Opinion: The Thirty Second Pitch
I liked this piece from 10 Simple Secrets Of The World's Greatest Business Communicators. There are many instances when you only have a few moments to make an impression.
Tory Johnson's Thirty-Second Pitch Tips
"Tory, if you only have thirty seconds to sell yourself, what would you consider the elements of a great pitch?" I asked Johnson. She gave me these three tips:
- First and foremost, state your name! Women, more so than men, have a challenge because we want to err on the friendly side. I'm not Oprah or Madonna. I'm not on a first name basis with the world. Always present yourself in a business situation with your first and last name. Beyond that, I want to tell you who I am and what I offer.
- Secondly when describing your accomplishments, remember that numbers count. Quantify something. For example, there's a big difference between saying "I'm in Human Resources" or "I'm a Human Resources manager with experience at Fortune 500 companies." That's quantifying. Include impressive details. They get people's attention. Better yet-- "I've worked in Human Resources for Fortune 500 companies for the past ten years and I've hired over one hundred people." Focus on accomplishments, not responsibilities.
- Finally, rehearse your pitch so it comes off naturally, not like a patented pitch. Don't make it sound like you're reading it. Record it on a videocamera. Look for nuances. Do you avert your eyes? Do you use filler words like "um" and "ah"? You'll find things you cringe at. By taking steps to improve your performance, you'll come across as more confident and as someone others want to get to know.
I think we often get too fancy with our introductions. Take the advice above and make sure your elevator speech has covered the basics.
Tory Johnson runs a company called Women for Hire. She has co-authored two books Women for Hire: The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job and Women for Hire's: Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success.