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You’ve probably heard of an elevator pitch and you probably know you should have one. In theory it seems easy– have a preplanned 30 second pitch about yourself that you could conceivably use to promote yourself to someone you happen to be standing in an elevator with for the duration of an average ride. In reality, it can be harder than expected to create one and be confident enough about it to actually use it. It is worth taking the time to craft an elevator pitch that you really feel great about and can use in any situation. After all, you never know when you will need to explain to someone what you do or why they should care. You could be miss out on a great opportunity if you don’t take full advantage of it when you have the chance.

To start, think about what you really want to focus on for your pitch. If you are currently looking for a job, you may want to focus solely on yourself and your strengths. If you own a business and want to sell yourself to new clients or customers, focus on your product and how it helps people. If you are pitching a start up focus on your brand and how it’s going to better the world and why people should want to be a part of it. Once you have a clear idea of what you are pitching it will be easier to narrow down the important information into 30 seconds.

Be direct. Begin by introducing yourself and your business/product/idea. Then explain three important qualities of yourself or your business in simple and specific terms. End by explaining how exactly you help make life easier for others. Mention where they can find additional information like on your website and social media channels. Once you have it written down and memorized, continue to practice regularly so that when the time comes you can recite it clearly and easily while still sounding authentic and real.

Since you will not always be in an elevator when the opportunity for this pitch occurs, open it up for questions once you finish, if you can. You have spent 30 seconds pulling someone in and now that you have their attention pause to see if they have further questions about anything you’ve said or if they want you to elaborate on any of the points. They probably will, and now you have the basis for a more in depth conversation. If you really only had the 30 seconds or so, then at least they now have all the important information about you and know how to get more information later on. You have successfully expanded your network and opened up the possibility of a new customer/employer/client/backer. Be sure to have a business card on hand to leave them with as well so they can’t forget your name or contact information!