Have you ever felt tongue-tied when asked to introduce yourself and describe your work? Or maybe you ramble on in a way that doesn’t accurately describe what you do?
As an artist it might be incredibly difficult to put your work into words in order to give your audience that “aha” moment and make them want to learn more.
There are many occasions where you’ll be asked to describe your work – or answer that dreaded question: what do you do? These include interviews, parties, networking events, conferences, or even meeting a friend of a friend for the first time.
The goal? You want the right people to remember you.
There are ways to practice talking about your services and talents that will open doors and engage the people you are talking with in an exciting way.
First, you need to remember: You are the only person in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way. We want to help you make sure you tell the right story when people ask, in a clear, succinct, and compelling way.
Let’s explore an example:
We met an artist at an opening. She had recently moved to New York from Florida, so we were discussing that, since it's a big life move. Sarah, our new acquaintance, impressed us when we asked her, "What kind of work do you make?" And she answered, "I am a sculptor who makes works from recycled materials, especially those small plastic bags that newspapers are delivered in."
Immediately, we were intrigued, asked her more questions about her work, and made it a point to look at her website the next day. Had she just said, "I am a sculptor" the conversation might have drifted off to more social things, or perhaps ended. So, the point here is to be very specific because each and every one of us is incredibly unique.
1. Say what you do: I am a______________________________. (writer, painter, actor, etc.)
2. Now write down the three most important things that you do and cite proof points why your work is important or unique.
3. Now figure out: What do you want your work to accomplish/What is your goal?
4. Distill the above three points into a short sentence or two: this will become your introduction, or pitch. You’ll want to end up with a simple statement like: I am a _____________ who (does this unique thing.)
5. Remember, you are talking with someone else, so engage them. Hopefully your pitch is so compelling that they ask you follow-up questions! Make sure you have a business card on hand to give them in case they want to learn more.
Here are the facts to remember about your pitch:
- It should explain what you do, clearly and succinctly: Who are you? What do you do?
- It should be no longer than 20-30 seconds, which is about the time it takes to ride an elevator.
- The pitch should be addressed to THEM not to YOU. To successfully engage in conversation, remember it’s about storytelling, not fact-reciting.
- It should be comprehensible to even a kid.
- Say it with confidence.
- Be memorable.
- It needs to be compelling and sound natural in person. (It’s beneficial to write it out and memorize it, but you don’t want to end up sounding like a robot.)
Why is your elevator pitch important?
- You want people to understand what you do and remember you. It’s an opportunity to create a mental picture for your audience when your work is not in front of them to experience first hand.
- You are creating an opportunity for an opportunity, which getting tongue tied will not provide you.
- In a social setting, you would like to be able to engage in meaningful dialog with someone without rambling.
- You want to add value to your community.
- Because it’s an opportunity to represent your character as well as what kind of work you do.
Good luck! Let us know what your success stories are after you’ve written out and practiced your pitch!