Experiential Project Preparation


Elevator Pitch

The Problem With Your Elevator Pitch–And How To Fix It


When you are so focused on making sure you sell the benefits because anyone could be a customer, you neglect a primary reason why people want to do business–because they connect with you. Not with your pitch, but with you.

  1. Don’t speak the way you write. “I help individuals, couples, and families make sound financial plans so that they don’t outlive their money” may read well on a website, but doesn’t sound the way people really talk. When speaking, you might start with, “I’m a financial planner, and I make sure my clients don’t outlive their money.” Much more compelling, genuine and even fun.

  2. Utilize common vernacular (aka, use the simplest language possible). Your organization’s mission statement may talk about serving “the growing population of at-risk adolescents” but most people would say “kids who are at risk” in regular conversation. So say that.

  3. Turn your pitch into a question. If you’re a professional organizer, ask “You know that pile of papers you’ve got somewhere in your house that you’ve been meaning to get through? As a professional organizer, I help people finally get through it.”

  4. Practice saying your pitch out loud, with feedback. Rehearse it until it sounds completely unrehearsed (ironic, but important), and then get feedback on how “real” you sound rather than how “polished” you come across.

  5. Be willing to forgo your pitch entirely. If you’re already making a warm connection with someone and they ask you what you do, don’t risk bringing a cold pitch into the conversation. Just say what you do–and more importantly, find out what the other person does and show genuine curiosity about them.

How To Write A Killer Elevator Pitch (Examples Included)

By Mike Simpson

What is An Elevator Pitch?

a short, 30-60 second well crafted business pitch telling someone who you are and why they should want to hire you.

Elevator Pitch Mistakes To Avoid

Speaking too fast.
Yes, you only have about 60 seconds, but try to avoid cramming 15 minutes of information into one minute.

Using highly technical terms, acronyms or slang.
You want your pitch to be easily understood by any audience and that means try to avoid using words that will confuse the average person. The last thing you want is for whoever is listening to you to feel dumb. Remember, think commercial!

Not being focused.
This isn’t a general conversation and you’re not discussing the weather (unless that’s your job, in which case, never mind). Keep your pitch clear and focused.

Not practicing what you’re going to say.
First, write down your pitch. Read it over. Have your friends and family read it. Does it make sense? Make sure it flows well and that there aren’t any spots that feel rough or awkward. Then practice it. Practice it again. Keep practicing it until it becomes so easy for you to pitch that you can do it at the drop of a hat.

Being robotic.
This is all about a face to face interaction with someone you want to impress. Having an easy, approachable, conversational style to your pitch will get you much further than an overly rehearsed monologue approach.

Not having a business card or other take-away with you.
Okay, you’ve sold them on you…now how are they going to get a hold of you when they decide it’s time to bring you in? Make sure you always have something on you to pass on that will allow people to not only remember you, but contact you later on.

Not saying anything.
It does absolutely nothing for you to have a killer elevator pitch if you never use it.
Now it’s your turn! Here are three example elevator pitches to get you started. Remember, these are just examples! Make sure you do the work to craft one specific to you and your audience!

3 Great Examples To Use As Inspiration

Hi, I’m Pam Tone and I’m a graphic designer. Did you know it takes the average person just two seconds to look at a company logo and decide if they like it? Did you know that a badly designed logo can do irreversible damage to a company brand and that most companies go through at least three to four versions in a single year before settling on their final design, costing both time and money? Having worked for over 10 years as a professional graphic designer specializing in brand identification means I’ve built my reputation on the longevity of my logo designs. I can say that not only are my clients happy with what I’ve done for them, but my designs have gone on to win national and international logo and branding awards. I have worked hand in hand with some of the biggest advertising agencies and companies and out of over 300 contracts, have had only one logo changed, and that was as a result of a merger, not poor design. I’d like to bring that award winning history to your company. Would you be willing to meet with me for 20 minutes to go over my portfolio and see how I can help make sure your logo properly reflects your brand?

Can I tell you about my toughest teaching experience? I was assigned to a school which was located in what can only be described as the middle of nowhere. There was one road into town and one road out and it took four hours to get to anywhere bigger. I was brought in to help teach a class that had consistently scored in the lowest percentile in state and national tests. As a result, the students had a reputation for being less than smart, and most were dropping out before they even got to their junior year. When I got there, I realized it wasn’t that the students lacked intelligence, they lacked resources! Their textbooks were outdated, the library was almost bare and most students had never even been on the internet, much less owned a computer. Between petitioning local government and organizing several bake sales and charity fundraisers, I was able to raise enough money to get the school equipped with high speed internet as well as purchase several new computers for the library. Now those students are not only scoring in the top percentile, but the dropout rate has fallen to almost zero and they have record numbers of students graduating and going onto college. Hi, I’m Mary Marm and I want to bring that same enthusiasm and drive to my next teaching position. May I give you my resume?

Hi, I’m Chip Ohm and I’m a developer. Did you know one of the biggest challenges facing companies these days is tracking employee work time? Of course, when you have a building where your employees are required to clock in and out it makes things easier, but what about employees who work from home or are on the road? I’ve come up with an easy way for both employees and employers to log and keep track of hours using just their cell phones and an app I’ve designed. The app allows employees to log in from wherever they are and input their start and stop times at the push of a button. You don’t even need to be in an area with a signal. The program captures all the data and holds it in a file which is then automatically uploaded to the employer’s servers as soon as the user is back in signal range. The system is not only simple, but it’s tamper proof. Not only has this app helped streamline the timecard process for remote employees, but it’s reduced timecard inconsistencies and paycheck errors by 90%, saving both time and money. So, how does your company handle logging in hours for your remote clients?


LinkedIn is perfect platform to show yourself to your potential boss. Remember, do not waste others’ time. Be precise, and show your achievement and passion. Let everyone know what is your value.

Please Change Your LinkedIn Headline Now.. Here’s Why and How

by Pete Leibman

  1. Your LinkedIn headline is cheesy. Phrases like “Social Media Superstar or “Strategic Visionary” or “Magical Marketer” are not impressive or intriguing.

  2. Your LinkedIn headline is confusing. If someone is confused about what you do, you will not be asked for clarification. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a job-seeker, or a happily employed professional, be clear in explaining how you make other people/organizations better. Only include your exact job title if people will understand what it means. Many of the people at my recruiting firm use their real job titles (i.e. “Associate Principal” or “Engagement Manager”). Why don’t they just refer to themselves as an “Executive Recruiter?” That’s what they are. Unless you work for a consulting firm, do you have any idea what an “Engagement Manager” does? If you have more than one role or job, try to create a central theme (if it makes sense) or focus on the one role/expertise that you want to be known for. Avoid positioning yourself as a jack of all trades, or you will look like a master of none.

  3. Your LinkedIn headline makes you look boring. Show us why you are special and unique. Provide indisputable evidence for your value and credibility by highlighting an impressive achievement, honor, award, industry recognition, etc. Only include the name of your employer in your LinkedIn headline if you work for a very well-known, well-respected brand, only include your college’s name in your LinkedIn headline if you attend(ed) a very well-respected school, and only include letters after your name if they are affiliated with a very well-respected degree or certification.

  4. Your LinkedIn headline seems desperate. If you are out of work or looking for something new, don’t say that you are unemployed or “seeking new opportunities.” No matter why you are looking for something new, this looks desperate and undermines your value. Highlight your past achievements and future value instead. You should not be sitting back waiting for recruiters or hiring managers to find you anyway. You should be proactively seeking opportunities on your own.

Now that we have discussed what NOT to do, here is “The Ultimate LinkedIn Headline Formula” and an easy 4-step process (“what-who-how-proof”) that you can follow to create a much more powerful, attention-grabbing LinkedIn headline:

  • Step 1: Say WHAT you are.
  • Step 2: Say WHO you help.
  • Step 3: Say HOW you make their life/work better.
  • Step 4: Give PROOF that you are credible.

Here are some examples:

  • Executive Recruiter/Speaker/Author/who helps you create a better career. Featured on Fox/CBS/CNN (Note: this was my LinkedIn headline when this article was first published.)
  • Fundraising consultant who helps major non-profits raise more money. Clients include the Red Cross and YMCA.
  • Personal Trainer who helps high school athletes get stronger and faster. Certified by the American Council on Exercise.

With each of these headlines, you immediately know what the person does, who they help, how they help them, and why they are credible. (Note: You can use the 4-step formula whether you are happily employed or looking for a new role.)

Your LinkedIn headline is valuable real estate and may be the only part of your profile that a recruiter or hiring manager actually looks at. Don’t do what everyone else does and just use your title/employer for your LinkedIn headline. Use your LinkedIn headline to show undeniable proof that you are credible and unique in a good way.

For students and recent grads with limited experience: You can fill in the “proof” part of “The Ultimate LinkedIn Headline” formula by highlighting a strong GPA, leadership positions, technical skills, etc.

How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Summary

by William Arruda

Know your audience

Write your profile specifically for the decision makers you would like to impress and influence. Know who they are (by name, job title, etc.) and don’t start writing your summary until you have the answers to these critical questions:

  • What do you want them to know about you?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • How do you want them to feel?

When you’re clear about your audience, it’s time to pull together the content.

Prepare the raw content

Victories: Write a sentence for each of your significant accomplishments in terms of the value you create/created (for example, “increased revenue with key small businesses through relationship-building and networking; hired, trained and led our company’s first inside sales organization to support revenue growth objectives”).
VPs (values and passions): List your operating principles and the things that energize or inspire you (for example, “creativity, diversity, and building win-win relationships” along with “windsurfing, astronomy and UNICEF”).
Valiant superpowers: Describe the things you do better than anyone else – the skills that enable you to be a hero for your colleagues (for example, “I can review reams of data to find the million-dollar error; I make team meetings fun and productive, getting everyone involved; I love to listen – not only to what’s being said, but to what is not being said. I have been told I am the best listener”).
Vital statistics: Provide a few quantifiable facts – interesting figures and things you can count (for example, “I participated in three triathlons on three continents; I saved the company $3M through the ‘Go Green’ initiative that I created and executed; I have held six different roles in various finance functions, giving me a comprehensive understanding of the field”).
Verve: Capture the quirky things that make you YOU and differentiate you from your peers (for example, “Being a night owl, I get a lot of my best writing done in the late evening; I like to use my humor to defuse tense situations and keep the team focused on results; I love TV commercials and start every team meeting with one of my favorites to get the creative energy flowing”).
Validation: This could include quotes from others and encompasses all the awards and accolades bestowed upon you (for example, “graduated Suma Cum Laude from UCLA; was named one of the top ten social media executives to watch by Advertising Age”).

Write your summary

There was a time where the purpose of your first sentence was to tell people what you do, but the new LinkedIn format requires something more compelling. Only the first two lines of your summary are visible to those looking at your profile. To get the viewer to want to know more and read on, you need to be truly interesting or even provocative. Your first line could be a quote, question, statement or even a few words with punctuation, like: High-Energy. Results-Driven. Focused. Here are a few sassy starts that some of the Reach-certified Social Branding Analysts (Ann Potts, Charley Timmins and Deb Dib) shared with me:


  • Janet Powers: Digital Consultant, Community Builder, Workforce Productivity Catalyst and Content Curator, Janet is driven to accelerate the social engagement of workforces and consumers with measurable results by leveraging technology and content.
  • Larry Thomas: The achievement I’m most proud of didn’t start with a business plan. It started in a dumpster.
  • Deb Dib: Visionary, gutsy, fun CEOs, sr. execs, rising stars, and coaches – with a strong profit motive and a social conscience – are my sweet spot.
    Don’t you want to learn more about Janet, Larry and Deb?
Test it two ways

Test A: The Question Test

Start by reading your LinkedIn summary as if you were reading it for the first time, through the eyes of your audience. And read slowly, paying attention to every word you wrote. Avoid the tendency to skim. Then, for each of the following questions, give yourself a rating from 1 to 3, where 1 is ‘very little’ and 3 is ‘completely’. Keep track of your ratings so you can calculate a total score (between 13 and 39) at the end.

  1. Does the opening sentence, phrase or heading make you want to read more?
  2. Is it authentic - consistent with who you really are?
  3. Does it differentiate you from your peers or competitors?
  4. Is it relevant, addressing the needs of the people you are trying to attract (decision-makers and influencers)?
  5. Is it compelling? Does it provide interesting facts and statements that make the reader want to get to know you?
  6. Does it contain at least 20 - 30% personal information (your interests, passions, values, philanthropic interests, point of view and life experiences)?
  7. Does it explain how you add value, telling the reader what happens when you do what you do?
  8. Does the writing style and content you included convey your personality?
  9. Is it formatted beautifully? Did you create enough white space to break up the paragraphs? Did you write powerful headlines for different content blocks?
  10. Does it include external validation (things like “People say I’m…” or a favorite quote or “The Association of Finance Executives awarded me…”)?
  11. Is it grammatically correct and perfectly proofed?
  12. Does it include all the keywords for which you want to be known multiple times? (This is vital for being found in online searches.)
  13. Did you get the reader to want to learn more or take action?
    Now, total your score.

If you scored between 30 and 39, bravo! Your summary will attract the attention of those who need to know you.

If you scored 29 or under, you need to spruce up your summary.

Once you refine your summary or create a new draft, you’re still not quite ready for prime time. Apply one final test before uploading it to your profile.

Test B: The Audience Test

Identify three people who would be open to helping and will provide you with honest feedback:

  1. a member of your target audience
  2. a mentor, coach or trusted colleague who wants you to succeed; and
  3. a friend or family member who knows you well.

Ask them:

  1. Is it an accurate representation of who I am and how I create value?
  2. Does it make you want to learn more?
  3. Is there anything missing?
  4. What one change would you make to improve it?

Once you get their feedback and make your final refinements, upload your summary to your profile.

And here’s the best way to evaluate your profile AND your LinkedIn career success strategy. It’s the no-cost LinkedIn quiz that we created at CareerBlast.

Bring your brand to life

Now that you have the perfect text, it’s time to augment your prose with pictures. After you upload your summary to LinkedIn, supplement it with a variety of multimedia. LinkedIn allows you to integrate videos, pictures and documents into your summary, making it a rich, vibrant way of telling your story while providing evidence to bolster your claims. This will change how your profile looks and provide readers with opportunities to get to know you better.

You likely have some images, PowerPoint presentations, videos of you speaking at events, reports, etc. that you can include. If you don’t, make a plan to create some content that will help you more fully tell your story. Remember, LinkedIn is a living resource that you can add to and refine over time. It evolves with you.When you’re finished, your LinkedIn summary will be a powerful 3D representation of your personal brand.