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I’m a person you’ve never met.
Maybe we just bumped into one another in line at the supermarket. Maybe we’re both regulars at the local coffee shop waiting for our morning latte. Maybe we’re riding the elevator together in a skyscraper downtown.
For whatever reason, we introduce ourselves and shake hands.
Now you’ve got about 15 seconds to tell me what you do before we part ways: Go.
What did you tell me? Did you stumble over your words? Did you have to think about what you were going to say before you said it? If your 15-second pitch didn’t roll off of your tongue easily and comfortably, this post is for you.
The Short, Short Version
It’d be great if everyone were as interested in our design businesses as we are, but the reality is most people are going to wander off or interrupt even if they do have 5 minutes to listen, and you’re going to sound a bit egotistical.
Nowadays, too, you’ll be lucky if any person with a few extra minutes isn’t lost in their phone.
This is why it’s important to summarize your business and abilities as efficiently and engagingly as possible.
Start with the overview.
The first thing your pitch needs is what, overall, you do.
I start out with, “I’m a freelance graphic and web designer.”
Give your overview some details. Speak in terms most people (non-designers) will understand. Notice in my sentence below I relate my work to visibility and profit instead of just talking about the projects…making that type of relation is key.
“I work with clients to increase their exposure and improve their sales through a variety of projects such as infographics, posters, brochures, websites, and identity packages.”
Wrap it up.
You have the option of one more sentence. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions – and hopefully for your business card! – or for you to politely return the favor.
“I also write a weekly blog post about the business end of graphic design. What about you?”
Practice Makes Perfect
Spend about 30 minutes to an hour perfecting your elevator pitch, and then go practice in front of a mirror, your best friend, your spouse, or your pet.
Try different intonations, reword tongue twisters, and smile when you speak.
You want to sound relaxed and confident, not rehearsed.
Not only is your 15-second pitch useful for face-to-face conversations, it’s also a great short spiel for your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter feed, in a response for quote (RFQ) email, or for phone conversations.
What’s your pitch?
Do you have a 15-second pitch you’d like to share with the Millo community? Post it in the comments on this article so we can all hear it! Got tips for how to improve a 15-second pitch? Leave a comment with your best business-pitching tips.
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