Are You Ready to Pitch Yourself?

by Joe Lavelle on September 28, 2012

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Some of you will be old enough to remember Senator Ted Kennedy’s run for the presidency in 1980.  He challenged the incumbent, President Jimmy Carter, in the Democratic primary.  While pitting yourself against a sitting president is not usually a favorable scenario, Kennedy was popular, a seasoned politician, and part of America’s most famous political dynasty.  Perhaps more importantly, Carter was carrying the baggage of gas lines, staggering inflation, and the Iranian hostage crisis.

So, the unseating of the 39th president by a member of his own party was quite possible until a single question was asked of Kennedy by reporter Roger Mudd in November 1979 — Why do you want to be president?  Kennedy did not have a clear and concise answer ready.  His 30-second answer should have been memorized and rehearsed, but instead he fumbled around for the right words and, when he was done, I don’t think most people felt like they had heard a concrete answer.  Not being able to quickly and effectively define his mission statement cost Kennedy the nomination that evening.

I write all that to ask you this question — Do you have your “elevator pitch” ready?  In a post entitled “Three Reasons Your Personal Brand Needs an Elevator Pitch” on Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding blog, entrepreneur Scott Bradley shares that you need to be prepared to “clearly and concisely tell someone who you are and what you do.”

If you can capture someone’s interest with your initial statement, follow up questions will be asked and, before you know it, a networking relationship will begin to develop.  On the other hand, if you ramble or go into too much detail without giving the other person a chance to talk, you will find that your new acquaintance will be darting his eyes around the room looking for a different conversation.

Check out the whole article for convincing arguments about why you need to be able to share your story between floors one and ten!  And, let us know . . . do you have your pitch?  Do you practice it?  Have you been in situations where having a quick synopsis of your work ready to share has proven beneficial?

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