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ISAE Blog

Pitch Perfect: How to Explain What Your Association Does in 30 Seconds or Less

Posted by Kayla Jenkins on Jan 11, 2017 12:00:00 PM

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Thirty seconds with a stranger in the proverbial elevator isn’t the only situation where having a practiced pitch comes in handy. The reality is that every member of your association is a representation of your organization and even when you’re off the clock, you’re still working.

How many times have you explained what you do in the gym, at the grocery store or in the doctor’s office? As the voice of your association, you play an integral part in generating new business and determining how your organization is perceived by those who have no idea what you do. As such, it’s important that you can clearly and effectively communicate what you do and who you serve to potential partners and clients.

An elevator pitch or speech is a short, conversational speech that quickly explains who you are and what you do. However, in this instance, it’s not a sales pitch. The goal of your pitch is not to close a sale, but to form a dialogue with someone who may be in need of your services or knows someone who is. Here’s what you need to compose the perfect pitch.

Keep it short. A good pitch is no more than 30 seconds long. In that time you should be able to explain who you are, who you serve, your value proposition and end with a call to action. Remember that these speeches are typically delivered in a casual environment, oftentimes amongst strangers. Be concise to keep the pitch conversational without taking up too much of the other person’s time.

Make it memorable. Since you’re working within a limited timeframe, it’s important to quickly capture attention and interest. Your pitch should be catchy and compelling, but again, be careful not to cross the line between an elevator pitch and a sales pitch. Find unique ways to explain the value of your service to leave a lasting impression.

Be strategic. It’s important to keep your audience in mind when you’re perfecting your pitch. Think of the settings you will be in where having an elevator pitch would be useful, then tailor the pitch to fit those environments and demographics. When crafting your pitch, assume the other person is unfamiliar with your organization or perhaps with the association industry in general. Then provide data that is relevant and easy for anyone to understand.

Have confidence. Confidence is key to nailing the delivery. The passion you have for your association should be apparent in your pitch. However, you don’t want that passion to be misinterpreted by talking too fast or for too long. Finding the right amount of energy and enthusiasm takes practice. Rehearse your speech with people outside of your profession and then ask them to reiterate what they know about your organization. Use this critique to fine-tune your pitch before utilizing it in real-world scenarios.

Whether you’re creating a new pitch or refreshing an old one, these elements should be a part of your speech. Practice your pitch until it’s clear, concise, targeted and sincere, and you’ll be ready for your next elevator ride.

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Topics: Communication, Associations, Public Relations

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