3 Steps to Crafting a Memorable Personal Pitch

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Much of the success people have in life depends on how well they “pitch” themselves.

Consider for a moment how often someone asks the question, “tell me about yourself”. Whether in personal or professional life, people are asked to introduce themselves nearly every day. Often, people will respond to this question by listing off their work history, years of experience, and maybe a few basic bullet points of their resume. In doing so, they’re missing an opportunity to sell their value.

For starters, anyone can look an individual up on Linkedin and find that information. And in today’s post-pandemic world, people are yearning for connection as many professionals now see the world in only two dimensions (through a screen). A personal pitch, or elevator pitch, drives connection by helping people tell their story.

Everyone has different versions of who they are depending on who they are with or what they are doing. For example, the pitch one gives to someone they are sitting next to on a bus or plane will be much different than the one they give to a potential employer or customer. A bad personal pitch can cost one more than just an awkward commute. It can cost them a lost deal, an interview rejection, a delayed promotion, and more.

The first step in delivering a successful personal pitch is to understand that, in its purest form, a pitch is simply about selling oneself. Instead of winging it and selling oneself short, take time to invest in the most important story of all – the personal one.

Review the tips below to get ready to deliver a winning personal pitch.

Crafting a Memorable Pitch

To get started, it can be helpful to first outline the core questions to answer in the pitch. This can help give direction to the story while also keeping the pitch focused.

Incorporate at least three of the following questions into the pitch:

  • Who are you?
  • Why are you here?
  • Where do you come from (work/professional)?
  • What makes you unique or sets you apart from others?
  • What do you do for work? How does it add value to the company?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • How do you live/lead with passion?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What has made/makes you the person you are today?

After selecting some of the questions above, sketch out a basic talk track. Think of the talk track as an agenda to a presentation or the table of contents at the beginning of the book. For example, a talk track could look like the following:

  1. Who I am and what I offer.
  2. My values and where they come from.
  3. How I’ve applied my values to my work and daily life.
  4. My passion – why I do what I do.
  5. A favorite and relevant story delivered with an emotional or personal connection.
  6. Why me and why me now.

Just like in any good book, there is always a moral to the story. The moral of an individual’s personal story should be a primary focus that represents a lesson learned or a key message that they want to convey. It should also be meaningful and memorable, so craft it in a way that can be leveraged as a technique to end the pitch. After all, the whole purpose of a pitch is to make people curious enough to want to learn more.

Adding a Personal Touch

It can be intimidating to share personal stories with potential strangers, like hiring managers. While deciding exactly what to share is ultimately an individual decision that may differ based on the audience and the setting, it is often those uniquely personal details that help drive human connection. Rather than shying away from the past, own it in the pitch by highlighting the silver lining, whether it’s a success achieved or adversity faced.

The future of business will depend on a company’s ability to attract, hire, and retain the most talented and diverse workforce. Diversity is not only about things like race or gender, it’s also about where people come from, the experiences that shape them, and the unique perspectives they bring to the table. The personal pitch is a perfect opportunity for one to illustrate these unique attributes to sell others on their value.

To identify the right personal story to share, consider first identifying a “Why” or “Purpose” statement and sharing examples that help to reinforce that statement. Similar to the concept introduced in Simon Sinek’s best-selling book, “Start With Why”, a “Why” statement can be helpful in shaping a compelling introduction in a way that helps an individual’s passion and authenticity shine through.

Delivering the Pitch

How the pitch is delivered is almost as important as what is said. Consider the following tips in preparing to deliver the pitch:

  • Make it conversational – and concise: Ideally, a pitch should be about one minute long and invite the audience to learn more by asking follow-up questions. Avoid droning on too long or treating the pitch like a monologue.
  • Nonverbal communication matters: Body language, such as leaning forward, making eye contact, and smiling, can help signal to the audience that the speaker is engaged and passionate.
  • Be authentic: Give specific, genuine examples to support the story and give the audience a glimpse of who the speaker is as a person.
  • Practice: Memorize the talk track, but also practice the delivery by speaking that talk track out loud.

An elevator pitch should be easy because it’s about the one thing each person has the most knowledge about – themselves. But often, it’s not as easy as it sounds. People can get nervous, forget their lines, or simply not take the time to practice and get it right. When done right, a personal pitch can make all the difference in kick-starting the relationships that open doors to the opportunities that drive an individual’s success. By taking the time to plan, prepare, and practice the pitch, individuals can make memorable first impressions to develop meaningful, long-term connections.

Download the worksheet below to get started with crafting your personal pitch.

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