As we near the end of SPRB’s Career Help 101 Series, we wanted to address the issue of having an elevator pitch or as one author calls something similar a brag bag and a brag bite. Before we get to why you should have one, we need to explain what one is.
- Elevator Pitch — A succinct statement that explains who you are, what you do or what your company can do. It’s the answer to the question of what you do. It’s a brief sales pitch. It’s 30 seconds to convey the most important facts about yourself. Let’s say you walk into the elevator and the only other person in there is the hiring manager for your dream job. What would you say to him/her about yourself?
- Brag Bag — According to Peggy Klaus, who authored Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, a brag bag is a “collection of all the information about one’s best self that can be easily accessed: accomplishments, passions, and interests — the colorful details that describe who one is personally and professionally.”
- Brag Bites — Klaus also coined the term ‘brag bites,’ which are “snippets of impressive information about one’s best self, expressed in a brief, quotable manner. They function as memory insurance so that people will remember something compelling about you. They can be dropped into conversations as single gems or woven together to create longer bragologues.”
Now when Klaus uses the word brag, she is not talking about being obnoxious or making an overstatement. That type of bragging is annoying and off-putting — not good for helping you find a position. The bragging Klaus is talking about is a form of self-promotion that is not too self-serving and does not seem obvious.
Learning to brag is not about becoming something you aren’t or trying to put something over on someone. In fact, bragging as an art is just the opposite. It’s about becoming more of who you are and bringing forward your best parts with authenticity, pride, and enthusiasm. It’s about telling your story in a way that showcases your strengths. It’s about telling your story in a way that showcases your strengths. It’s a way of building a bridge to others and to better opportunities (p. 18-19).
Why is it important to have one?
- It’s a beneficial tool to have whether you’re trying to sell a service, product, company, or yourself. You can even have an elevator pitch for your blog. For the purpose of this post, we will be talking about trying to sell yourself.
- It’s a great foundation for an answer to the “Tell Me About Yourself” question in job interviews.
- People will always ask what you do, but how will you answer that question? You don’t want to fumble your response and look dumb and a pitch will ensure that you are prepared.
How do you craft an elevator pitch or brag bag?
- Determine what message you want to convey and what you hope to achieve through this pitch.
- Know who you are talking to. Are you primarily talking to hiring managers, HR professionals, and other well-respected individuals in the industry? Are you mainly talking to others on the same level as you?
- Remember that this elevator pitch is about what you can do to help him/her so use “I” in the pitch rather than “we.” Using “I,” if done appropriately, does not mean you are obnoxiously tooting your own horn. It’s okay to gracefully brag in an elevator pitch.
- Klaus recommends answering these 12 questions to help you best determine what would be the perfect fit for your elevator pitch. Her book’s website also offers 12 questions for college students.
- Write down what you do and what you’re all about — don’t worry about making sure it’s properly worded. Just get it out so you have something to work with.
- Offer up a story as an example to help them remember you better IF it makes sense to do so. You don’t need to have an anecdote to have a successful elevator pitch.
- Read it out loud. Practice it. Does it flow? How does it sound? Can you modify it based on the occasion?
- Memorize it. You don’t want to numbly recite the elevator pitch, but you also want to make sure that you know it well enough not to stumble through your pitch.
- Speak with confidence. You’ve practiced and prepared this pitch — now say it with confidence.
According to the book Elevator Pitch Essentials: How to Get Your Point Across in Two Minutes or Less, you need to make sure your pitch follows the nine C’s of an effective elevator pitch:
Do you have an elevator pitch? Share it with us in the comment section.