When you meet someone for the first time, you have a small window of time to make a great first impression. In that window, you need to know how to talk about yourself in such a way that you engage the other person and keep them interested in carrying on a conversation with you.

Having an answer prepared to the questions, “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?” is the perfect way to make a great first impression. This is known as an elevator pitch.

Impress With an Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief, 30-second statement that breaks the ice between you and the other person, and opens the door to a deeper discussion. It’s a high-level overview of what makes you valuable to a business by briefly explaining what you have to offer. Keep it short, simple and precise.

What Can You Say in 30 Seconds?

You can say a lot in 30 seconds! Talk about your skills, your current or past positions, and how your overall skills and experience help people or businesses succeed. When giving it, avoid using slang words or jargon that may not be known outside of your industry. Know who your audience is and try to include details that would make you stand out to that particular person. For example, the details you would include when speaking to a manager or director at a company may be different than the details you would include when speaking to an employee.

When or Where Can You Use an Elevator Pitch?

Use your elevator pitch whenever you want to have a professional conversation with someone new. Your pitch sums up who you are and what you do, making it a great starting point to build a relationship. Have several variations of your pitch ready to suit your audience and change its tone depending on whether you’re giving it in a professional setting (e.g. a networking event or conference) or a casual setting (e.g. a get-together, a classroom, the gym or a special interest club).

Finally, practice, practice, practice. You want to be prepared, yet sound natural and relaxed when giving your elevator pitch. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make yours an impressive one.