Your knees are shaking. Your palms are sweaty. Your mouth is dry. Your mind goes blank, your jaw falls open, and a befuddled “Uhhhh” rolls out of your mouth. Why? Someone just shook your hand and asked you the dreaded question, “So, what do you do?”
I’ve been there. I know how tough it can be to concisely summarize your skills, experience, and job duties in one quick statement. After all, when you do so much, how can you be expected to wrap all of that information into a neat little speech?
So, you typically end up doing one of two things. Either you blabber on aimlessly about how you do everything from file and make copies to plan huge corporate events and manage all of the office vendors, or—even worse!—you reply with a quick, “Oh, I’m just an office admin.”
Don’t sell yourselves short, ninjas! You’re the glue that holds your office together, and you’re worthy of a personal summary that accurately represents how much you kick butt at your job.
Feeling a little overwhelmed with the task of whipping together your perfect elevator pitch? Have no fear! I’ve got four key tips to help you craft a summary that’s concise, professional, and undeniably impressive.
Narrow Your Focus
One of the things that makes preparing your elevator pitch so difficult as an office ninja is the breadth of responsibilities you handle. You don’t have one main duty—you have ten of them! And, when you juggle a little bit of everything in your office, it seems impossible to capture that all in one quick and pithy summary.
Where should you start? You need to determine what exact skills and duties you want to highlight in your summary.
Sit down and list out all of the things you do at work on a daily basis, then take a long, hard look at your list. Which of these make up the meat and potatoes of your day-to-day? Which of these things are you exceptionally great at?
You don’t want your elevator pitch to sound like you’re simply reading your job description (boring!), so pick only two or three key things to focus on in your pitch. This will give you some clear direction on the exact things you want to emphasize. Instead of saying something like:
I’m the Office Manager at XYZ Company. Oh gosh, I do a little bit of everything. I file, make copies, answer the phones, handle vendor contracts, plan events, order lunches, take meeting minutes, get the mail, water the plants, and… oh, I know I’m missing so many things!
You’ll whip out an amazing ninja schpeel like this:
I’m the Office Manager at XYZ Company. A few of my main responsibilities include planning and managing large corporate events and meetings, ensuring we stay within our budgetary constraints by finding the best and most cost-efficient vendors, keeping the office running smoothly, and acting as the main point of contact for the entire office.
Emphasize Your Value
Everything you do is important in order to keep the entire office on track. But, when you’re so focused on the day-to-day tasks that are right in front of you, it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees. And, you don’t just want to say what you do. You want to tell people how well you do it and how much it contributes to your employer.
Make sure you dig deep and identify how all of your efforts and responsibilities are contributing to the objectives of your entire organization. The example above did that by demonstrating how the admin’s task of finding cost-efficient vendors contributed to the business’ bottom line.
You could take this one step further and state something like:
I’m the Office Manager at XYZ Company. A few of my main responsibilities include maintaining our positive industry and community image by planning and managing large corporate events and meetings, ensuring we stay within our budgetary constraints by finding the best and most cost-efficient vendors, and upholding our outstanding customer service reputation by being a friendly point of contact for the entire office.
See how every single one of those tasks and responsibilities was directly connected to the bigger picture? Map out how each of your key tasks contributes to your company’s overarching goals, and work that into your pitch!
Open the Door to Connections
There’s no doubt that your position requires you to interact with a variety of different people. So, it’s important that you make the most out of every opportunity to network!
If you’re chatting with someone that you think could be a worthwhile contact or resource, you should always end your elevator pitch by handing them your business card—or, at the very least, providing them with a way to get in touch with you.
Perhaps you don’t have a need for that person’s expertise right at this moment. But, who’s to say you won’t want to reach out to them eventually? Maybe you’ll be in a pinch and need someone to speak at a meeting. Or, maybe one day you’ll be looking to replace a specific vendor.
Building a real network of contacts is important in your position, and you should be working on it constantly! Not only will you have a slew of options to reach out to in a time of crisis, but you’ll also impress your boss with how well connected you are in the community. So, never forget to provide a method of contact with your elevator pitch—it’s a crucially important piece of the puzzle. And don’t limit your networking contacts to people only you can benefit from. Providing valuable connections for others is a fantastic ninja skill!
Writing down the words to structure your incredibly impressive elevator pitch is one thing. But, if you recite the whole thing while wringing your hands, rocking back and forth on your heels, and biting your lip? Well, you’ve lost a whole lot of impact and pizzazz.
Your nonverbal cues say a lot. Arguably, they say way more than the words that are actually flying out of your mouth. So, it’s important to be conscious of all of your mannerisms and nervous twitches.
Begin your elevator pitch with a firm and self-assured handshake to introduce yourself. Then, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart—a posture that will make you appear poised and confident, while also keeping you from nervously shuffling around. Make hand gestures away from your body rather than towards yourself, which shows you’re perfectly comfortable with “taking up space” and owning a conversation. Finally, remember to take deep breaths to avoid talking too quickly. We have the tendency to speed through sentences when we’re feeling nervous.
Your Ninja Pitch is Ready: Go Get ‘Em!
There’s no doubt about it—crafting the perfect elevator pitch can be a challenge. But, it’s also completely necessary for connecting with new people and maintaining your positive professional image. So, you can’t let that intimidation or uncertainty hold you back from creating a personal summary that accurately demonstrates what a skilled ninja you are.
If you ever feel completely overwhelmed by the task, ask yourself what’s scarier: writing your elevator pitch or being completely unprepared when someone gives you the opportunity to share one? If you’re at all familiar with that sinking, sweaty-palm feeling that comes with being totally unprepared, I’m willing to bet you’ll start working on your new pitch pronto.
What’s your elevator pitch? Share it with us in the comments!