One of the first and most important professional communication techniques I was taught in business was the importance of developing an “Elevator Pitch” a very short statement describing what it is that you do. In fifty words or less (about 30 – 45 seconds) you should be able to communicate who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and how people benefit from what you do.

What I have come to realize over the years, is that while even the most novice of sales people tend to have an elevator pitch, very few C-suite executives or entrepreneurs have adopted the practice. Moreover, most of the elevator pitches that I hear are not very effective and have obviously not been refined to the point of becoming a strategic advantage. In fact many times even if the professional has developed an elevator pitch, they don’t use it.

It’s almost as if there is some unwritten rule that once you’ve achieved a certain station in life that you can ignore the basic fundamentals of good business and coast along resting solely on your laurels It is the people that subscribe to this theory that seem to fall the farthest, fastest and hardest I would strongly recommend that wherever you are in your career that you always pay attention to the basics that made you the successful person that you are today.

I believe so strongly in the value of a good elevator pitch that I have developed nearly 20 different variations which allow for their appropriate use based on environment, audience, need, service line, time availability, context, and situation. This gives me the ability to make a quick assessment of the situation at hand and to put my proverbial “best foot forward.”

A well crafted elevator pitch will allow you to introduce yourself with credibility that engenders confidence while you are communicating a strong benefit statement that addresses a fear, need or potential painful situation Put simply, it sets the hook. Here is the technique that I use and that I teach to my clients:

My name is (name, title, company) I specialize in assisting (target audience) with (value proposition). This can normally be done in fifty words or less (if the introduction has already been made with significantly fewer words) which can then be followed up by a short example of how you can help someone achieve their goal, overcome their fear or avoid a painful situation Following are a few examples of my elevator pitches:

Version 1:  This is my informal version that I use when the introduction has already been made and I’m asked what I do for a living “I help people align their energies and efforts with their passions because it’s simply been my experience that most people’s daily actions are not in true alignment with their goals.” 30 words

Version 2:  “My name is Mike Myatt. I’m the managing director at N2Growth and we specialize in helping executives build a dominant personal brand so that they can achieve both increased job security and maximize earnings ability.” 35 words

Version 3: “My name is Mike Myatt. I’m the managing director at N2Growth and we specialize in helping executives who are not happy with their current situation by serving as a catalyst for positive change and growth.” 35 words

Version 4: “My name is Mike Myatt. I’m the managing director at N2Growth and we specialize in assisting C-suite executives and entrepreneurs with growing their revenue, their talent and their brand.” 29 words

Version 5: “My name is Mike Myatt. I’m the managing director at N2Growth and we specialize in taking executives who are spread too thin and show them how to regain control by maximizing their impact and leveraging their resources.”  37 words

Each of the elevator pitches above has a short story that provides an example in support the statement made and demonstrates how we’ve been successful at achieving the desired outcome with others.

A good elevator pitch can be used as a personal or corporate branding tool that can serve you well in both business and social environments. It can serve as an introduction or calling card, an ice-breaker or attention grabber, the lead-in to a sales presentation, VC or private equity pitch, a networking tool or a myriad of other beneficial applications.

Create your elevator pitch today then practice it, never stop refining it, and most importantly, use it frequently.