In a previous post I outlined why everyone needs to nail their elevator pitch. In this post I’ll continue where I left off: with the concept of a through line.
A through line is a connecting theme or plot in a movie, play, or book. Just like in the movies, our lives have connecting themes. When we step back and look at the experiences in our lives, the through line becomes clear. It’s in this process of connecting the dots for ourselves that we find the confidence to share what we’re good at and why it matters. And when we share the twists and turns of the journey, we capture people’s attention.
My through line is communication. Whether it’s helping people share what matters to them in a new language, expressing the mission of a business, or entertaining people on a stage, stories are the way I interface with the world.
So here’s my elevator pitch:
For 20 years I’ve been helping people communicate their stories. I taught English around the world, but when I returned to the U.S. I felt lost. I missed helping people express what was inside of them. So I turned my theater background and love for language toward a natural skill — marketing. Now I help companies share their vision, and I’m building a business that connects people through authentic communication.
In my elevator pitch I share my through line, but I also share something about the struggle to get to where I am today. It expresses confidence and vulnerability with emotion. It’s great for self-promotion because it also inspires empathy. You might be able to relate to the feeling of “being lost”, and if so, you’re probably going to lean in a little more than if I hadn’t included that. Here’s another reason why you need a personal elevator pitch.
Networking has become a bad word. Too many cursory exchanges of business cards with rote recitations of our job titles instead of real connection have soured us on the experience. But networking is marketing, and your elevator pitch is your marketing for the workplace. It’s what helps you build relationships that may lead to demand for your services. Here’s how a unique and memorable elevator pitch can get that bad taste of status quo networking out of your mouth.
Sharing an authentic elevator pitch when marketing yourself will make you more memorable. Your elevator pitch serves as the trailer to a deeper story, and research shows that stories create emotion. When you are able to engage someone in a conversation that makes them feel something, they are more likely to remember you.
What’s more, when you show authenticity, your listener is encouraged to do the same. Puffing up your chest and saying how accomplished you are stands in the way of connecting with the person you’re talking to. If networking exists to connect people and build relationships that support business, it’s in our best interest to share more of ourselves than confidence. Authenticity can be as simple as admitting weakness or showing a willingness to learn, and it’s required if we really want to connect.
I’ll talk more about why you need to nail your elevator pitch in part three of this article here.