How to pitch yourself as a freelancer
– 6 tips for delivering a perfect elevator speech
Do you have a good elevator speech that helps you pitch yourself and your skills and services whenever the opportunity occurs? If not, it’s about time!
You might know the feeling: You are about to give an oral presentation, but you are nervous and not sure how to pitch yourself in a convincing manner. As a freelancer, the ability to land new clients is indispensable. Often, you will have to pitch yourself and your competencies to a company who needs an expert for a project. Therefore, you should always focus on improving and adapting your pitch, since it will help you convince companies that you are the right candidate for the job. This is indeed easier said than done, and that is why we bring you a few tips on how to pitch more successfully.
1. Focus on the structure of your pitch
First of all, one of the main ingredients in a successful pitch is structure. If the structure is not on point, there is a risk that the message of your pitch seems unclear. Remember to always get straight to the point – start off by giving the audience the key message of your pitch. In that way, they are on the same page as you and can more easily follow the rest of your presentation. It is essential to capture the attention of the audience at the very beginning of your pitch. For instance, you can start off the pitch by asking a clarifying question that sets the premise of your pitch. In that way, you will get your audience thinking, while you also come up with the solution to the question.
Consider structuring your speech after the elevator pitch model. It is used many times before, but that is because it’s actually working really well.
2. Use examples in your pitch
This leads us to another great tip for your execution of the pitch – namely to include examples. Regardless of the content of your pitch, try to put things into perspective by using examples. In that way, you will ease the understanding of your message and at the same time make your arguments clearer to your audience. It will also increase your credibility significantly if you have concrete examples of how your work has helped companies previously.
3. Know your audience and be prepared
Before you start formulating your pitch, it is a good idea to understand the needs and expectations of your audience. By better understanding your audience, you will be able to tailor your elevator speech, to make it more appealing and interesting to your audience.
Do your research of the audience properly – what is their background and field of expertise? What do they expect from you? Additionally, you always want to be at the forefront of potential questions. You can’t put all the information in the pitch, so it is normal that the audience has questions to ask. Think about what the audience might want to know that you are not saying in the pitch. When your pitch is done, you will appear even more convincing if you are able to answer follow-up questions.
4. What is your key selling point?
Even though you should put effort into understanding your audience, you should also focus on yourself and your offer. It might sound slightly silly – but do you know exactly what you have to offer? Regardless if you are doing a job interview or pitching a business idea, you should always be aware of what your key contributions are. Be razor-sharp on how you can contribute to the job with your exact competencies and knowledge. As already mentioned, you should do some research on the company to know which competencies they demand. If you are applying for a job position or project, you want to present your professional profile as an asset that can go directly into the organisation and make a difference. Roughly said, you must present yourself according to the audience’s expectations of you. But with that said, you should always be honest and not claim to possess competencies that you cannot live up to.
5. Body language is also part of your elevator speech
You might not think about it, but communication is mainly non-verbal. Body language is key to a successful pitch. If you learn to use your body language in a proactive way, you will have a great foundation for future pitches. The main purpose of a pitch is obviously to deliver a message – and this will be a whole lot easier if you are aware of your body language. Try to relax, remember to breath, speak slowly and clearly, smile and look your audience in the eyes. Your message will be more powerful and convincing if your body language expresses confidence and control. Focus on your gestures and try to express your passion through your body language. People have an easier time remembering pitches where the speaker is present and energetic. If you nail your body language, your pitches will stand out from the rest and increase your chances for success.
Think about it – the company or investors not only invest in your product or competencies but also in you as a person. So, convince your audience that you are the right candidate by being yourself and not by delivering your pitch as a robot without emotions.
6. Please rehearse!
You have heard it before, but this cannot be underlined enough. A wise man once said: “All real work is done in the rehearsal period”. In other words, the rehearsal of your pitch is just as important as the pitch itself. Rehearse your elevator speech in front of your friends, your family or your dog. It doesn’t matter, as long as you improve your presentation. Furthermore, remember to get feedback (might be hard with your dog, but give it a try!). Feedback is one of the best tools for improvement and will give you important insights on how people understand your pitch. If you use this feedback to improve the pitch text and the way you deliver it and rehearse it a number of times, then you will be more relaxed and confident when it really counts.