This past week I’ve seen and read several articles talking about elevator pitches/speeches and why you need one. Each of the posts had great things to say, and each gave some pointers on how to write an effective one.

I’m always up for a good challenge and decided to try my hand at writing my own elevator pitch/speech. Trust me, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Before I even put my pitch down on paper, I had to think about what I do, how I do it, and how to explain what I do to others. Sounds easy when I explain it like that, right? Wrong! I had to face the possibility that I might be boring. Me?

Looking at my list and the way I presented that list forced me to reword and revise my presentation. I used more action words, I had to be succinct, and I had to hook my audience. All these things are important because you have only 30 seconds, or 60 seconds at the most, to engage your listener.

After I revised my list of attributes, I attempted to put what I do on paper. My first attempt wasn’t pretty! I came off as boring, even condescending. Me?

This wasn’t my intention at all. So, I decided to start over. The best way to do that was to tear my list up and start from scratch. I read the articles on elevator speeches again. I carefully followed the suggested steps. I made a new list of my strengths. I considered my audience. Then I walked away from the process. I put elevator speeches out of my mind for a few days.

Then it hit me while I was walking on the treadmill. I was trying too hard. I was overselling. I was even including a call to action! I realized that in thirty seconds I don’t have time for any of those things. My goal was to engage my listener and begin a conversation. I didn’t want to sell them a major appliance or car! I just wanted to quietly explain what I do.

After that epiphany on the treadmill, I was able to list was I do, who I do it for, and how I do it. I was able to transform that list into a quiet, yet informative elevator pitch. My pitch needs some revising, but now I’ve got a solid foundation. I even took a chance and delivered my pitch out loud in the bathroom while looking at myself in the mirror!

Next week I’m going to a networking function with the intent of delivering my pitch to a group of people I’ve never seen or met. Talk about moment of truth! I’ve decided to do this because it will give me a chance to listen to other elevator pitches, and it will give me a chance to deliver mine. I’ll be a success if others talk to me after my presentation. If they don’t, I know I’ll have to revise what I have.

It’s a good thing I’m up for a challenge.