Mike Knapp | Personal Branding Part 3 – Your Elevator Pitch and Stories

Personal Branding Part 3 – Your Elevator Pitch and Stories

Personal Branding Part 3 – Your Elevator Pitch and Stories

Posted by Mike Knapp in Professional Development 13 Dec 2011

Do you think only sales guys and businesses raising money need an elevator pitch? Think again. Every time you meet someone professionally, be it networking, job hunting or at a conference, your elevator pitch is a key tool for introducing yourself. Your elevator pitch is the answer to the dreaded question “Tell me about yourself”.

The basic elevator pitch should be able to describe who you are and what you do, and hook the listener to want more in a very short time.

Which is more interesting:

“I’m Bob Jones. I’m the IT Manager at XYZ Corporation.” versus “I’m Bob Jones, IT Manager of XYZ Corporation. My role is to leverage technology to help grow our business.”

It’s only a few more words, but they add a hook. The hook opens a door for your stories.

Create Stories

We’re not talking fiction here, but relevant stories around your accomplishments. Think about your top 3-5 projects (in each company) and develop stories around them. Make it clear, results-oriented and relevant to the listener.


“At GenCorp, we implemented a system that did something exciting. In the first three months, the new process saved the company $50,000 and shortened the sales cycle by 15%”.

“While I was with XYZ Corp, I led a process improvement team. One of our biggest victories was in the accounting department, where through automation we reduced the billing cycle from 45 days to 5 days and save over $150,o00 per year in manual overhead.”

You’ll notice there is no technical talk in these stories – It’s results oriented. In two sentences, each story showed success in a project and clear and measurable impact to the business.

This is something I’ve done a poor job of. In the last 15 years, I’ve successfully completed countless projects, but failed to capture metrics for the projects. As a result, it’s hard to me to demonstrate the results clearly in my stories. Learn from my mistake!

Key points:

  • Prepare a short 15 second pitch, and a 1-3 minute one
  • Find your hook and use it to develop interest and reel them in
  • Keep is concise, relevant and results-oriented
  • Match the listener’s language – don’t talk geek to a business person!

As a consultant, sales person or entrepreneur, it’s obviously important to have your pitch ready any time you meet people. For the rest of the world, having your pitch ready will help you find the job you want and climb the corporate ladder more quickly.

Using it, you can make the most of networking opportunities and leverage your existing network. How do you do that? That’s what we’ll talk about next time.

Additional resources on developing your personal elevator pitch:


Next Tuesday: Networking 101. How do you get out there and meet people?

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