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What do you do?

Probably, the most terrifying question anyone ever asks.

Four innocent little words that can turn seasoned business people into quivering jellies.


Because most of us have not perfected the art of being able to answer such a direct question succinctly. That is where the elevator pitch comes in.

The elevator pitch essentials

What do you do? It should be the most straightforward question in the world. After all, something is radically wrong if we don’t know what we do to make a living. However, go to any networking meeting, and you will soon realise that very few attendees have nailed their pitch.

Many people waffle; some try and include everything and the kitchen sink; others hesitate and mutter. It seems that expressing what we do in a couple of clear sentences is a skill very few have mastered.

The elevator inventor, Mr Otis himself, is often credited with coining the phrase elevator pitch. The idea is that you can grab someone’s attention and engage them with what you do in the time it takes to take a short ride in an elevator. Think 30 seconds or so. Most networking meetings I attend give you anywhere between 40 and 60 seconds to introduce yourself to the other attendees.

Make it memorable for all the right reasons

You want the recipient(s) of your pitch to remember you for all the right reasons, not those listed above! However, don’t feel the need to resort to gimmicks. There is no need to sing your introduction or combine it with clever stunts (unless you have a particularly quirky brand or are a close-up magician by profession.)

The answer to the question isn’t really about you – it is about what you do for your customers. Nobody cares that you are a coach, copywriter, or social media manager, so don’t start with your job title. Instead, describe the solution your customers can enjoy from working with you.

“I relieve the symptoms of anxiety” is far more interesting than “I am a hypnotherapist.”

“My client Jane said I changed her life after two sessions.”

Using a testimonial not only gives what you are saying more gravitas but can also leave your audience wanting to know more, which is what you are seeking to achieve. Your pitch is your come on. It should entice your fellow attendees and leave them intrigued enough to want a follow-up conversation with you.

End your elevator pitch on a high

After stating what pain you solve for your customers, add a surprising fact, statistic or offer. “Most hypnotherapists require six sessions to deal with x, but with my SuperDuper Method, 99% of my clients have no symptoms after just two. And for August, I am offering 25% of my usual price.”

Boom. You have explained what you do, why you stand out from others offering similar services and given a reason to use you.

Once you have your pitch down to three or four sentences, practise saying it so you are word perfect and can remember it without having to read it. Our intonation is very different when speaking naturally, which is very obvious when listening to a roomful of people.

Are you still unsure about answering the question?

Creating the perfect elevator pitch is much easier if you clearly understand your target audience/ideal client. If you haven’t yet nailed that, please book a call so we can work out exactly who you serve and identify the best message for your business.

Join me for a webinar where you can learn how to structure your pitch

perfect your elevator pitch

Join me on 2 February 2023 at 3 pm GMT when I will be running a webinar to show you a variety of ways of writing the perfect introduction to you and your business. There will be time to practice in a safe environment and gain feedback on your pitch.

You will leave with the words and the confidence to impress your audience at your next networking meeting.

Book your place.

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