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Chapter
6

Select your elevator pitch(es)

First, the bad news: there’s no magic formula for selecting your elevator pitch, no council of wizards that is going to tell you which one is “best.”

In fact, the idea of “one best” elevator pitch can lead us astray. As we established in Step One, you’ll probably have a few elevator pitches that you can choose from in different scenarios.

And now, the good news: you can narrow down your list to the top few contenders, and it’s not that hard to do so. Here’s an exercise that will help.

Exercise E: score your elevator pitches

For each of the elevator pitches you’ve developed, award points for each of the following categories. Use this simple scoring system:

  • Absolutely! = 2 points

  • Sorta… = 1 point

  • Nope. = 0 points

Here are the categories:

Authenticity – Does this statement feel authentic and natural to me? (The more authentic and natural it feels, the better you’ll be at delivering it.)

Honesty – Does this accurately capture what I do and what I’m best at?

Clarity – Will this make sense to the audiences I expect to encounter?

Relevance – Will this matter a lot to the audiences I expect to encounter?

Selectivity – Does it try to communicate 1 or 2 key ideas only?

Add up your scores for each elevator pitch. If a pitch scores…

  • 9 or 10 – Start sharing it immediately! (Two thoughts on how to do this below.)

  • 6, 7, or 8 – Ask what you can tweak to bump those scores up.

  • 5 or lower – Consider whether there’s something here that can be repurposed. But if you already have a few pitches with higher scores, it may be best to move these to a parking lot.

Share your elevator pitches

As with any form of communication, your elevator pitch will improve when you share it with others. Here are two ways to do that:

  • Get a fresh point of view. Ask a few of your freelance friends or business colleagues to review your list of pitches and select their top three. (You can also ask for a bottom three since what to avoid is as important as what to pursue.)

  • Road-test it. Try a few different versions in real-world interactions. (Networking events are great for this.) See what gets eyes and ears perked up and what leads to additional conversation.

Again, your goal is not to arrive at just one elevator pitch, but to arrive at two to four statements that you’ll lean on most heavily. Each elevator pitch in this final set will use different language and different elements. That’s what you want! This way, you’ll have one ready for almost any situation.

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