What’s Your Pitch?
Quick – you’re asked to speak for 30 seconds on what you do. The listener is a stranger, and the meeting could lead to a serendipitous outcome – perhaps an important new connection, assignment or chance to learn. Are you ready? Can you clearly and concisely talk about what’s important to you, and what you’re looking for?
When I work with job seekers in JVS Job Search Strategy workshops, we often discuss the many versions of “the pitch,” such as in a job interview or an imaginary elevator. My favorite scenario for practice is a meeting with a random stranger. How do you talk about yourself and what you do when you meet someone at a party, or in line at the grocery store? Can you speak about what you do in a way that encourages another person to become interested?
I grew up near Hollywood, where “the pitch” is a way of life. This is a crucial skill for job seekers, of course, but what if you’re not looking? Maybe you’re in school, you’re retired, you’re working…Do you need to practice your pitch?
The networker in me says, yes. Yes, we all do. Because being able to talk about what we do – whatever that is – in a way that’s clear, concise and interesting, can lead to great connections and opportunities. It’s not just job hunters who need to have a great network, right? Ideally, we should be able to rely on our network of contacts to get advice, to explore new areas, to do research, and to discover what it is we don’t know that we don’t know. And, in a world where every job is in some sense temporary, even the well-employed among us should be positioned for the next job hunt.
Want to have a great year in 2015? Try this: create a 30-second “pitch” for yourself and what you do – something that you enjoy saying and others enjoy hearing. Practice it in front of a mirror every day. Say it to a stranger whenever you can, and tweak it if you’re not getting positive reactions. Does your “pitch” need to be shorter? Longer? Start differently? End with a request for assistance?
Umm…one suggestion: don’t overdo it. Your “pitch” should be energetic, but not over the top (see video below). As Oscar Wilde said, “be yourself – everyone else is already taken.”