How to answer “What do you do?”

The elevator pitch may look like an outdated thought—one thing an intern in a ’90s comedy had to give you for an enormous presentation. However with more and more brief consideration spans, the immediacy of social media, and the huge amount of data bombarding individuals on an hourly foundation, the idea of a brief, attention-getting pitch continues to be legitimate.

And that’s actually the important thing to an efficient elevator pitch: brief and catchy.

What’s an elevator pitch?

Meant for a fast answer to a query like “What do you do?” or “What does your organization do?” the elevator pitch is a brief description of your shtick, about one to three sentences lengthy.


It’s referred to as an elevator pitch as a result of, again within the day, when individuals wore fits and rode elevators collectively with out fearing for his or her lives, they’d have an elevator experience’s value of time to give their pitch.

How to write an elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch ought to start with one thing sudden (so individuals preserve listening) and finish with a query (so individuals interact).

I’m a enterprise navigation guide—I assist entrepreneurs overcome their worry of failure to get to the place they need to be. However that’s not my elevator pitch. That is:

I assist individuals and organizations flip fiction into autobiography [pause for a second]. Most of us live an unfinished story and would love to find yourself in a tremendous place. What’s that place for you, and do you understand how to get there?

The purpose is to shock the listener a bit with a “sample interrupt.”

They’re anticipating to hear “I’m an legal professional” or “I personal XYZ Firm” or “we promote espresso,” however as a substitute, they’re caught a bit off guard, they start to listen, they usually assume, “wait…what?” The pause within the center provides them time to course of and alter gears, beginning to truly hear with curiosity.

Then I present a bit extra context, in order that they notice I’m not speaking about writing an precise guide. And at last, I hit them with a query that requires a response different than simply “sure” or “no.” This isn’t a senseless query, neither is it significantly straightforward to answer. Fairly, it begins a dialog about them. Asking a probing query builds rapport—it exhibits that you’re not simply attempting to promote them one thing (even when in the end you do need them to purchase from you).

Simply watch out: it may be tough to do this with out sounding trite. Make certain your query is real and distinctive—not one thing they’ve heard 1,000,000 instances.


How to ship and hone an elevator pitch

When delivering an elevator pitch in particular person (or a minimum of reside), you want to ensure your supply lives up to the pitch.

Apply it. Then, as soon as you’ve practiced for some time, observe extra. You need it to develop into second nature (however not sound rehearsed, which, sarcastically, comes with rehearsing).

You additionally want to check it out. Implement it as you meet new individuals, and verify your outcomes. If the pitch isn’t main to extra and deeper conversations, return to the drafting board. And don’t be afraid to ask individuals what they considered your elevator pitch (simply don’t name it that when you’re speaking to them). Suggestions like this may be precisely what you want to make it work.

Maintain refining till you get one thing that persistently works for you.

Adapt your pitch to the medium

This methodology is supposed for reside elevator pitches. After all, if you’re delivering your elevator pitch in writing, you gained’t give you the option to have that pause or ask that very same form of conversational follow-up query.

I like to recommend creating just a few variations of your pitch relying on the medium and the viewers. For instance, it’ll be completely different relying on whether or not you’re introducing your self to a possible consumer on a gross sales name versus introducing your self to a number of individuals directly in a Fb Group.

However whatever the viewers and whatever the medium, these two authentic guidelines nonetheless stand: begin with a hook and finish with a query.

Elevator pitch template

Right here’s an elevator pitch template to comply with.

Elevator pitch template

Now exit and promote your self.