Photo: Flickr/Alex decarvalho
Ever been to a networking event and find yourself not knowing what to say? Or how to introduce yourself? Or maybe you’ve stumbled over your first sentences, making less than a great impression.We are going to change that. Right now.
I’d like to introduce you to the elevator pitch — and then throw it out the window.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it? An elevator pitch is the brief statement you give to introduce yourself or an idea. It’s a pre-conceived answer to the dreaded question of “What do you do?” It’s beautiful, in theory.
But in reality, eyes often glaze over as soon as you launch into “I am a …” or “I recently graduated from X college with a degree in Y.” These answers are boring and repetitive — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Your introduction can be captivating and engaging, as well as the perfect sales tool.
So get ready to turn your elevator pitch on its head and arm yourself with a Super Hero Story — the most effective kind of elevator pitch.
A Super Hero Story is all about answering two questions:
1. What are your strengths? (Both skills and characteristics)
2. What does the company need? (Problems to be solved, pains to be alleviated, places it can grow. If you don’t have a specific company in mind, think about how you’d answer this for your dream company)
Once you answer both of those questions, figure out exactly how you can use your strengths to solve the major pain points of the organisation. In other words, how you can be a Super Hero for the organisation.
Got it? Write it down. (Want more help with your Super Hero Story? Check out Your Free Guide to Getting Hired.)
Thought you were done? Think again! Now we’re going to transform your Super Hero Story into a question.
Why a question? Simple. Questions engage. They’re one of the best tools for building your network. People love questions, because it allows them, no it asks them to share their stories. And the most effective networking involves listening, not talking.
The easiest way to do that is to frame your Super Hero Story as a problem. In other words, figure out what problem you solve and then ask your audience if they have ever experienced it.
When they respond with a story or an exclamation of connection over a pain you understand, follow up with a short and sweet statement about how you fix the problem.
Wait… what exactly?
Figure out what problem you solve (or want to solve). Ask them if they’ve ever dealt with it. Bond with them over the pain they feel from the problem. Tell them you take away their pain! Ta-Da!
A few examples to help illustrate:
“Have you ever wished more people would open your emails?”
Yes! Even though we are above industry benchmarks, so many go un-read each week!
“Well, I write compelling email subject lines, getting people to open them — and email copy that entice people to click!”
“You know how you go onto some websites and you don’t even know which button to click or where to go?”
Yes! That is so frustrating.
“Well, I help companies design websites that are easy to use and navigate with really high conversion rates.”
“Have you ever thought about the way that you feel when you walk into a bank?”
Wow, I can’t say that I have every really thought about it.
“Most people haven’t! But that’s my talent: to design experiences that makes you feel safe and confident.”
Now it’s time to write yours! Please share your story in the comments — I’ll be around to help you craft a winning Super Hero Question.
Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work — this isn’t your parents’ career-advice blog. Be Brazen.
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