I hadn’t been to New York City since I’d moved out of my Chelsea apartment right after 9/11. There really was no reason for me to go back in over 17 years and I honestly I didn’t miss the whole vibe. Sacrilege, I know!
Fast forward to 2018 and what seems like a new life complete with an entirely new career and the road has led me right back to the big apple. So much time had passed and my view about what the city had to offer me and what I had to offer it had changed. I was excited to go back, even if it was for a short time. I had set up a meeting with a modeling agency and I flew in to *hopefully * sign a contract.
Overall, the meeting went well and ended with me trying to figure out a good way to spend more time in the city to cast. There was a point in the meeting (and there is a point to this long intro) when the agent asked me what my goals were. I answered, or at least attempted to answer, in this long-winded, difficult to follow, run-on sentence. Hello?!? I should have been giving her my Elevator Speech. Opportunity: missed.
What is an Elevator Speech?
An elevator speech, also known as an elevator pitch or statement, is a description of your idea or company, or in our cases, ourselves and talents, that’s easily understood and can be said in the time it would take to ride a few floors in an elevator. The name itself implies a sense of urgency and that you probably have a captive audience but only for a short amount of time. So, make it fast and make it good. The name 'elevator speech' is also a nod to the fact that hey, this mini spiel can actually ‘elevate’ your career if you get it just right and into the right set of ears.
I was in front of a New York agent who was asking me about what I wanted out of my career and instead of painting her a sweet, concise picture of who I am and where I’m going, my jumbled thoughts left her a bit confused.
The truth is, I didn’t have an elevator speech at the time of this meeting. I knew about them, was told to write one by a director-friend of mine and even started one but I never finished it, practiced it and committed it to memory.
#leaveittoleslie to have all of this sorted out so I don’t myself fumbling around my words in a future meeting with someone who can really have a huge impact on my career.
Learn from my mistake and write your pitch today. Remember it and for goodness sakes, use it! On everyone. Your mama. Her mama. Your neighbor. Your neighbors mama...
4 Questions to Answer in your Elevator Speech
(this is geared toward on-camera talent)
Where did you come from and what do you do now? I don’t literally mean what city you are from but rather a quick summary of what brought you to this career. It’s even better if this part included something that would give you a little credibility in this field. For me, I include that I was a small business owner because it compliments my professional demeanor.
Who is your ideal audience? In other words, what kinds of jobs are you looking for?
Why would this group of people listen to you? What makes you influential? Is it your life experience? Your education?
Why does the person you are giving your speech to care about you? This is where you’d have to think on your feet. In my case, with the agent I was talking to, I could have added in something like, “Coming to you as an experienced host and actor, you can rest assured that I will make a great impression on any casting director or direct client you’ll put me in front of.”
Remember, you’re trying to get this whole pitch out in little more time than it would take you to hit “close door, floor 2”, so keep it tight.
Need help? Message me here and I’d be glad to take a look at your elevator speech and give your some pointers.