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Pitch Perfect at NCCWSL and Beyond!

Here’s a sneak peek at the NCCWSL workshop Pitch Perfect: Personal Branding, Body Language, and Executive Presence.

Rosie Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States and 2017 NCCWSL Woman of Distinction recipient, speaks with attendees following the awards ceremony.

An effective elevator pitch is essential to networking and professional development. An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that succinctly creates interest in a product, idea, or company — or, in this case, you! Your elevator pitch should be brief and last no longer than an elevator ride, hence the name.

Get prepared to drop your elevator pitch into hundreds of networking opportunities at NCCSWL! Enhance your success by using your executive presence to create a lasting impression that differentiates you from the rest of the candidates in a selection process.

The Recipe for Success

Let’s start with executive presence — your ability to make others want to learn more about you, your personal brand, or your business. The recipe for executive presence calls for confidence, self-awareness, and an ability to navigate people’s needs. Now mix these ingredients with the following:

  • Active listening
  • The ability to quickly connect patterns of conversation
  • Poise under pressure
  • Decisiveness
  • Strong and clear language
  • Positive body language

The Secret to Executive Presence

Remember: It’s not about you, it’s about others. In order to start a conversation with a person of influence, be prepared to ask questions that are meaningful enough to start a dialogue.

These five questions have consistently worked well for me with a variety of different people:

  1. What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
  2. Where and how do you find inspiration?
  3. What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?
  4. If you hadn’t pursued a career in ________, what would you be?
  5. So, what’s next?

Prepare Your Pitch

  1. Watch your body language. Because body language broadcasts your mood, confidence, and level of engagement in the interaction, good body language can make or break a conversation.
  2. Ensure that your messaging is consistent across your résumé, cover letter, and online profiles. What you say when networking and in an interview should be aligned.
  3. Prepare, practice, and rehearse! Your pitch will typically be 15 to 45 seconds and is meant to serve as your introduction and tagline. Time yourself and practice on a friend to get ready for the real deal!

Elevator Pitch Exercise

Who are you?
Your name, job title or area of study if you haven’t graduated, and what you do.

What are you great at and passionate about?
Think back to your job goals, previous experience, and past accomplishments. Why are you interested this type of work? What motivates you?

How do your key strengths bring value to a potential employer?
Elaborate on the results you’ve produced. What accomplishments are you proud of? What do you want people to remember about you?

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you’ve tried out your elevator speech, review these points to see where you can improve.

  • Did you keep your speech between 15 and 45 seconds?
  • Were you talking too quickly, slowly, softly, or loudly?
  • Was your speech conversational or did it sound too rehearsed?
  • Did you use a lot of filler words (“um” or “like”) or repeat a certain phrase?
  • How was your level of energy?
  • Did you sound confident?
  • Was it genuine?
  • Was it memorable?

Use this checklist to strengthen your pitch, then put it all together and deliver your pitch with passion and sincerity at NCCWSL!

Learn more by attending the Pitch Perfect: Personal Branding, Body Language, and Executive Presence workshop at NCCWSL, and check out the schedule to see the huge variety of workshops offered at NCCWSL this year.

Want more leadership tips? For more than 30 years, NCCWSL has provided a transformative experience for the next generation of leaders. Join us from May 30 through June 2, 2018.

Register Now

This post was written by NCCWSL workshop presenter Amber Wigmore Álvarez, Ph.D., the executive director of talent and careers at IE Business School and University. Follow her on Twitter at @wigmorealvarez.


By:    April 11, 2018