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Summary:

We’ve written before about the importance of managing your personal brand. But with the frenetic pace of conferences, social networking, instant messaging, SMS, and random coffeehouse encounters, you can’t count on prospective clients being familiar with the online identity you’ve so carefully built up. That’s why […]

We’ve written before about the importance of managing your personal brand. But with the frenetic pace of conferences, social networking, instant messaging, SMS, and random coffeehouse encounters, you can’t count on prospective clients being familiar with the online identity you’ve so carefully built up. That’s why web workers who sell their own services increasingly need to give attention to crafting an elevator pitch as well.

First popularized during the original dot-com boom as the way to gain funding from venture capitalists during chance elevator ride encounters, such a pitch is nothing more than a distilled and refined sales statement – ideally one that takes no more than 100 to 150 words to deliver.

There are two main reasons that you should spend time crafting your own personal elevator pitch. First (and most obviously) it gives you an answer to the question, “so, just what is it that you do?” But beyond that, the exercise of coming up with a succinct answer to that question can help you focus on your own strengths and understand just what market you’re in, as well as how to best sell yourself.

15SecondPitch logoIf you need some help getting started, visit the useful 15SecondPitch web site. Their free Pitch Wizard will walk you through one possible formula for coming up with a personal pitch: your name and contact info, who you are, what you do and why you’re the best, and your call to action. They also offer optional paid services including personal consulting to polish your pitch.

For those really time-pressured situations, you could try compressing your story into a TwitterPitch: 140 characters or less, to fit the space of a single Twitter message. That way, though, lies madness.

By Mike Gunderloy

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  1. Wow. That 15 second pitch wizard must have been dreamt up by the same guy who invented the chocolate teapot.

  2. Thanks for telling people about the Pitch Wizard. I know that here in NYC there are more and more freelancers who need to be able to explain what they do in order to bring in more business and they’ve told me that they find the pitch to be a great tool. Bob: We can’t take any credit for the chocolate teapot, though!

  3. Behind the glasses » Blog Archive » I have to improve my elevator pitch Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    [...] however, helps to make a great first impression. Web Worked Daily brought an article today titled Refining Your Personal Elevator Pitch. Author Mike Gunderloy writes There are two main reasons that you should spend time crafting your [...]

  4. I’m still trying to figure out how to give the condensed version when what I do is so varied (publishing, web development, photography, etc). Sometimes it’s easy to narrow down in a certain context (user group meetings probably mean “talk about the development work”). But otherwise? It turns into an essay.

  5. Audrey:
    Many of my clients are doing more than one thing to pay the rent. So, I always say, “create a pitch for every niche.” Meaning, create a pitch for each of the things that you do. Then, if you are going to business networking events to find more business, it’s great to ask the other person what they do first. That way, you’ll know whether to give them your photography, web or publishing pitch. You’re just letting them know what you do in a clear and concise way, not giving them the hard sell, so most people appreciate this.

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    [...] personal web sites, brochures, and even just chatting. Whatever the medium, you need to refine your personal pitch into something that’s compelling, interesting, and fast to [...]

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