- Selling yourself quickly and efficiently is key when you meet someone new. But crafting and delivering a solid elevator pitch can be harder than it seems.
- We asked marketing strategist Dorie Clark for her best advice on selling yourself.
- Clark’s tips include: Personalize as much as possible and don’t stick to a script.
“The best elevator pitch doesn’t feel like an elevator pitch,” says Dorie Clark. “It feels like a conversation.”
Clark is a marketing strategist, an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the author of multiple books, the most recent of which is “.”
The goal of telling someone about yourself, according to Clark, is simply to “achieve conversational liftoff.” You don’t need to cram in every detail about your life and career — that will come out over time.
We asked Clark for her best advice on crafting and delivering a solid elevator pitch, or “selling yourself,” if you will. Read on for her top tips.
Consider your audience and personalize the pitch to them
You wouldn’t send the same exact résumé and cover letter to every company where you’re applying. The same logic applies to elevator pitches: You want to personalize as much as possible.
“You can make a better and deeper connection with people if you can be thoughtful about what elements would resonate,” Clark said.
Say, for example, that the person you’re speaking with works in finance and you used to work in finance. You might open the conversation by talking about the way your finance background still informs the work you do today.
Wait as long as possible in the conversation to give your pitch
Clark said she advises clients to give only a brief answer to “Tell me about yourself” at networking events. The next step is to draw the other person out.
“If you can find ways to engage the other person upfront and ask as many questions as possible about them, it will enable you … to find more hooks so that what you’re talking about is relevant to them.”
Keep the pitch to about 30 seconds
Brevity is key. Stick to about 30 seconds when you’re delivering your elevator pitch.
“The goal is not to stun people into silence with your amazing monologue,” Clark said. “The goal is to engage them in a conversation.”