I want to share an experience I recently had because I think a lot of people can relate to having been in a similar situation. I was at a social event and making conversation with some people I didn’t know very well when someone asked me that all-too-familiar question…so what do you do for work?
Me: “I work as a consultant.”
Person 1: “Oh. What kind of consultant? What does that mean?”
Me: [I paused and thought about how to sum up my work in one sentence…] “Um, we work with different companies and help them with projects, like planning and evaluations.” (...knowing that I just gave a SUPER vague answer and didn’t capture my work accurately at all!)
Person 1: [politely recognizing this and thankfully changing the subject] “Sounds cool, unlike this extremely hot and humid weather we have been having lately!”
As I reflected on this experience later, I realized as difficult as it can be to describe what I do in a few short sentences, I should have something prepared for the next time I’m asked this question – as it’s likely not going to be the last time I find myself in that situation.
You may have heard of the term “elevator pitch or speech” which consists of a quick synopsis of your background, experience, and purpose that you can quickly and effectively share with others. It’s called an “elevator pitch or speech” because it should be short enough for you to tell someone during a brief elevator ride.
So that I am ready for the next time I’m asked about my work, I looked into some general tips on how to create your elevator pitch.
Some of those tips include:
· Keep it brief – aim for around 30 seconds as a short recap of who you are and what you do
· Be persuasive – you want to try and be compelling enough to keep the listener’s attention
· Share your skills – try to focus on assets that add value in many situations
· Share your goals – be clear with your intentions, passions, and interests
· Know your audience – you may want to use different jargon depending on who you’re talking with
· Practice – it becomes easier to deliver with practice and starts to feel more natural
When thinking about the content to include in your elevator pitch, I found these helpful tips:
· Share your company’s mission – a brief description of what your company does and your goals. Focus on the problems that you work to solve and how you help clients.
· Share the value your company brings - what does your company do exceptionally well that sets you apart from others and makes you unique.
· Grab their attention with a hook – share an exciting story about a current or past project to provide an example of the type of work you do.
I have taken all these tips into consideration and drafted my ‘elevator pitch’ to be ready (with practice, of course!) for the next time I’m asked…so what do you do for work?
“I work as a consultant for a firm called Collective Results. We mostly work with non-profit and public sector organizations on the foundational work they often don’t have the time or resources to tackle. We stay true to our name, taking a collective, team approach to our projects to best use our skill sets and expertise as we work collaboratively with our clients.
Recently, we worked with a client to develop their strategic plan which provided a roadmap for their organization to follow, outlining their priorities, goals, and measures to track their success over the next 3 years."
I like to think of us as ‘concept organizers’ where we take on complex issues and work with our clients to find solutions that provide strategies, frameworks, templates, and tools to help them put their great ideas into action.
As I’ve shared in a previous blog post, as a visual learner, I am a big fan of a good analogy to help me understand something better. In this case, the best analogy I can provide to describe Collective Results, and the work we do as consultants, is that we work similarly to a car racing pit crew on the side of the track at a pit stop assisting non-profits, charities, and public sector organizations.
Just like in car racing, the drivers (i.e., our clients) are the experts steering their vehicle (i.e., their organization) around a challenging course. However, at certain points along the way, they need to briefly pull off to the side for some assistance from the pit crew to address a problem, refuel, or change up parts that aren’t working as well.
Our team of consultants at Collective Results is ready on the sidelines to help clients tighten things up, offer useful tools to change parts, or provide guidance to help make their journey more efficient and set them up for success. We will just take a little longer than 18 seconds to finish the job at our pit stop!
What are some helpful tips you’ve used to create your own elevator pitch? Please share them with us.