How to craft the perfect elevator pitch (and why you need one)
Whether you’re attending a conference, a networking event or hoping for a job interview, it’s important to have a concise and memorable way of explaining who you are, what you do and how you can help a potentila new employer or colleague. The all-important "elevator pitch" is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show you have something special to offer, all in under 1 minute.
Before you start crafting your pitch, let’s review a few basics of the elevator pitch:
- Length: A typical elevator pitch lasts 30–60 seconds… the typical amount of time it takes to ride the elevator with someone (hence, the name “elevator pitch.”)
- Purpose: Be clear on what value you bring and who your target audience is. Ask yourself: what is unique about “you;” what value do you provide; how do you demonstrate it?
- Use Common Language: In other words, do not use industry lingo, acronyms, jargon, or insider comments. Your pitch should be able to be understood by anyone inside or outside the industry.
- Create a Hook: This is the first 15 seconds of your pitch, meant to grab the attention of your listener so he/she wants to hear more. Start with a really great first sentence, inviting them to “wonder what if” or “picture a scenario where”…. It creates curiosity for more information.
- Practice the pitch: It may feel silly to rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror, but you need to be able to deliver it perfectly when you need it. You don’t want to leave anything out.
- Call to Action: At the end of your pitch, offer your business card or encourage your listener to contact you. The whole point of your pitch is to “close” with the next step: to set up a meeting or job interview.
If you’ve done a great job, you can expect follow up questions. Your listener may want to know more about a particular aspect of your experience, why you think what you do, or how you might help them. You can’t add all that detail to your elevator pitch, but you should be prepared to have further discussion if you’ve piqued their interest.
Specific Tips for Crafting a Strong Pitch for a Hotel Job
In a recent conversation with Jo Neill, former Director of Guest Services and Human Resources for the historic landmark hotel, Boulderado Hotel, Ltd. in Boulder, CO, she shared her “dos” and a big “don’t” when you're pitching yourself for your next hotel job:
DO convey a sense of warmth and committment to service. She recommends that any potential employer needs to get the sense that you are genuinely committed to ensuring that each guest has the best stay they can have and will want to return because they’ve had a great experience at the hotel.
DO demonstrate your strong problem-solving skills. There are always times when something comes up and the usual hotel resources may not be available at that time. For example, maintenance people may not be readily available in the middle of the night, or sales people may not be available during off hours. You have to be able to think on your feet and solve problems on your own.
DO display your happy, pleasant and calm disposition. Everyone wants to work with people who are fun to be around, and guests appreciate it, too.
DON’T ask about your stop and start times, what days you’ll have off and “what about holidays?” To a potential employer or future colleague, that demonstrates you don’t understand that hospitality is a 24/7 business, and she knows you’re not a good fit in her hotel.
A really good elevator pitch will come in handy in a variety of situations. Be mindful of your demeanor, your choice of words, your body language and how you might fit into the culture of a particular hotel. Your pitch is your first impression, and you have to get it right the first time. With these tips from a seasoned professional and a solid review of the basics, you’ll be ready.