7 Reasons Why Your Elevator Pitch is Awful (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Do people look like this when you tell them what you do?

Whether you are at a networking event, social gathering, or conference, (or any other place with fellow human beings), the “what do you do” question is likely to come up.  However, despite this inevitable fact, very few people know how to respond in a manner that engages the person asking the question.  Here are 7 reasons why most elevator pitches are absolutely terrible:
  1. You haven’t spent time practicing your pitch.  Despite the fact that we are asked “what do you do?” every day, few people have spent the necessary time crafting a great response. 
  2. Your pitch is way too long.  You must be able to tell someone what you do in 5 seconds or less.   Otherwise, you will ramble, and your listener will lose interest.  The goal of the initial pitch is simply to get them to say “wow, that’s interesting.”  Even better, you want them to say “wow, how do you do that?”  Once you have hooked them, you can elaborate.
  3. No one can understand what you do. This is especially dangerous for salespeople and entrepreneurs.   If people don’t understand what you do, they can’t help you, buy from you, or refer you.
  4. You are not focusing on the benefits of your work.  Instead of saying “I am a realtor” say “I help homeowners sell their homes faster and for more money.”  Instead of saying “I am a personal trainer,” say “I help middle-aged men and women get into the best shape of their lives.”  Instead of saying “I am a veterinarian,” say “I help families keep their pets healthy.”  Instead of saying “I am a small business lawyer,” say “I help small business owners protect themselves against lawsuits and bankruptcy.”   Get the point?
  5. It’s boring.  One way to stand out from the masses of boring, confusing, unoriginal elevator pitches is to add some humor to your pitch.  One of my colleagues is a humorous motivational speaker in the healthcare industry.  However, that’s not what he tells people when they ask what he does.  Instead, he says “I make colonoscopies more fun.”  Now, that’s memorable!  Note: it’s not appropriate for people in certain careers to use humor when describing their work (i.e. a psychiatrist), so use good judgment.
  6. It’s not original.  Many people have the same occupation (i.e. accountants, lawyers, executive coaches).  Find a way to stand out from the crowd of people who have the same job as you.  What makes your approach to your job different (and better)?
  7. You don’t seem excited about it.  You know more about what you do than anyone else.  So, if you’re not passionate and confident about your work, why should anyone else be?

In summary, elevator pitches must be concise, clear, and compelling.  Is yours?

P.S. What do you say if you are a student or someone looking for a job?  We’ll discuss that in an upcoming post.

-Pete Leibman

– Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises




Explore posts in the same categories: Networking

3 Comments on “7 Reasons Why Your Elevator Pitch is Awful (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)”

  1. […] Career Muscles (by Pete Leibman) Get Your Dream Job and Start Your Career the Right Way! « 7 Reasons Why Your Elevator Pitch is Awful […]

  2. […] than asking your name, the first question you are asked at any event is what type of work you do.  Click here for tips on how to answer if you are employed.  Click here for tips on how to answer if you are a […]

  3. […] what you would say if you had 10-15 words to describe to someone what you do.  See my recent post on elevator pitch tips.  The headline is valuable real estate, so don’t waste it!  If you are […]

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