Imagine being in a long check out line for coffee. The person behind you starts making small talk, and you find out they are a major decision-maker in vendor approval for the company they work for and you own a local print shop. As they finish telling you what they do, they ask what line of work you are in. Although this seems like an easy answer, you begin stammering and drawing a blank. You pay, part ways and essentially miss out on a potential major client.

A perfect, 30-second elevator pitch could have changed the outcome of that unexpected meeting. As seemingly easy as this question may seem, many people can get caught off guard and end up missing out on major opportunities that can be life-changing. Here are five tips to help you develop a powerful 30-second elevator pitch that will help you connect with your next opportunity.

  1. Write It Down. Think of who you are and what you do. Write it down and then write it down another nine times. Generate all your ideas – be serious, funny, wild, and conservative. The idea is to generate as many ideas as possible. Use your business’s mission statement as a guide to help you with thinking through the value proposition of your businesses. Remember that this is just a brainstorm so you can be as precise and general with your statements as you would like.
  2. Consider Your Different Audiences. Keep in mind who your main target audience is and who your secondary audiences are. Your main audience will be the primary one you are targeting with your pitch. Write down who each audience is and where you are likely to encounter them. The goal is to have a pitch that is more precise for professional settings, like for conferences and networking events. The other pitch should be more laid back and easy going – one that you would use at places like a dinner party or in line at the grocery store. Having each of these audiences will help you think of how you want to convey the tone of each pitch.
  3. Think Of Your Value. Consider all your achievements, big and small, and write those down. Think of the experiences you have had and what are the things that set you and your business apart. This is your chance to brag and highlight your achievements without sounding boastful. This could be a data point highlighting a success or how you have helped clients achieve success.
  4. Hook Them In. You have 30-seconds to give your pitch – so it needs to be short and to the point. Put the best pieces of what you wrote in sections one and two while thinking of your audience(s). This will help you craft the perfect pitch. Use important elements that tie and tell your story. Think of drawing your audience in, versus selling them on your idea. Tie in your purpose and passion to help make it personal. Make the pitch perfect and then allow the flow of ideas and conversation to occur naturally.
  5. Practice The Pitch. Record yourself and listen to it over again. This will help you edit and make your pitch sound natural. It will also help you time yourself to make sure you’re not going over the 30-seconds. Make sure you also practice the pitch in person with others. While your first in-person try may not be perfect, it will help you get comfortable and improve. Also, be flexible and willing to update and change your pitch as your business and goals shift.

An elevator pitch can help you build your confidence in business settings and provide you with the tools you need to introduce yourself and clearly talk about your business, goals, and skills. Take the time to perfect your elevator pitch and give yourself the flexibility to adjust as needed. When your pitch is done right, you can leverage it to help introduce yourself to business connections or potential partners in a compelling way.