Elevator Pitch Analysis for Organization Director

 

I’m {NAME}. Out of curiosity, how many of you felt prepared for life after high school? Me either.

 

I’m actually the first in my family to go college, so growing up I often felt alone. I was lucky to have mentors who helped me choose a bigger life.

 

That’s why I’m so passionate about the work we do at {OUR ORGANIZATION}. We provide internships and mentoring for thousands of students every year, so they don’t have to prepare for their future alone.

 

I’m glad to be here to share more about the impact we’re having.

​The evolution of this pitch started with the subject, a director at an educational nonprofit, having the opportunity to speak on a panel to an audience containing grant-awarding foundations. This subject wanted to create a connection immediately with the audience by choosing deliberately what she shared in the round of introductions.

Hi. I’m {NAME}. How many of you felt like you were totally prepared… for life after school?

To help her confidence, we crafted a universal rhetorical question she could start with to get the audience to shake their heads as intended. This easy-to-answer question got a reaction which set her at ease. (You wouldn’t use a question like this in a conversation, but into a microphone it works very well as long as it’s presented naturally.) She also emphasized “totally” to further nudge the intended reaction, which is people saying “Nope.”

Me either.

I’m actually the first in my family to go college, which meant from an early age I had to find mentors to guide me. I found some at school (and by watching Full House). But in my pursuit of a bigger life I often felt alone.

My challenge for her was to share something personal she wasn’t entirely comfortable revealing, namely she is from generational poverty. In her brainstorming about this, I felt connection with her when she used the phrase “first in my family,” as well as empathy for the obvious challenges from that experience. It was very humanizing. This transparency enabled her to link her personal story to her organization story through the universal theme of feeling alone.

Because it was vulnerable for her to share this publicly, she practiced it until it felt comfortable for her to say aloud. This allowed her to seem intentionally off-the-cuff. I know this sounds like a contradiction, but it’s the best way to share emotional data in a meaningful way.

As an expert you need to reveal your humanity intentionally because it likely won’t come across otherwise.

That’s why I’m so passionate about the work we do at {OUR ORGANIZATION}. We provide internships and mentoring for thousands of students every year, so they don’t have to prepare for their future alone.

Next she wanted to list all of their programs. I challenged her to choose no more than 2 examples, since the human brain is notoriously weak at recalling and retaining a verbal list of more than a few items.

Lastly, her natural tendency to be modest about the organization’s impact felt counterproductive. I challenged her to emphasize the scale of their impact with the line: “We provide internship opportunities to thousands of students every year.”

Modesty has it’s place, but not in your professional bio or statement of impact.

It’s good to get outside your comfort zone with this. This is what it looks like when you build the human expert combo into your pitch: first you appear humble, then you appear impressive.

Most people are only expert in the eyes of their listener, and thus make half a connection. But when you check both boxes, your statements balance each other out and connect to your listener in different ways: they make you both an approachable human and a compelling expert.

Finally to tie things up neatly, we included a universal theme: (“I felt alone”) both in the personal hook and in the professional story that would connect them together.

I’m glad to be here to share more about the impact we’re having.

The result of this pitch was immediate interest from the room, the bulk of the questions directed at her, and ultimately a large grant awarded to her organization. Success!!

I said she practiced this, but you might have thought I meant she ran it through a few times. No, she practiced it over and over, probably 25 times or more. Because when it matters most, that practice will have been worth it.

Your message is more than what you say – it’s how you say it.