October 23, 2012


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Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

By Catherine Alman MacDonagh and Beth Marie Cuzzone

Your introductory description—a.k.a. the "elevator pitch"—is your introduction and description of who you are and what you do. It is your opportunity to define (or redefine) your personal brand or your reputation. Communicating your elevator pitch to others allows them to remember how you help people. An added benefit is that other people can literally be your commercial. Here are guidelines and a short exercise to assist you in creating your self-introduction.

What It Is

· 10–20 seconds in duration
· A sound bite
· Succinct and memorable
· Spotlights your uniqueness
· Focused on benefits
· Delivered effortlessly

Rules for an Effective Elevator Pitch

· It must pass the "so what?" test.
· Do not say, "I'm a partner/counsel/associate/solo."
· No sales pitch.
· No legal-ease!
· Try this: "My name is x and I help..."


· Keep it short.
· Think "tag line."
· Solve a problem.
· Point out the benefits.
· Be excited about your work!
· Be genuine.
· Practice makes perfect.
· Use the elevator pitch worksheet to get started.

Example: "My name is Kenna. Kenna O'Donnell. I help commercial real estate developers with their contracts in major cities all over the world."

TIP: Repeating your first name as in the example above helps people remember it.

1. What are your deliverables? Identify services or features.





2. Write a list of benefits your clients derive from working with you (and make sure they pass the "so what?" test).





3. Combine the deliverables with the benefits to write your 10- to 20-second elevator pitch. Practice it (try looking in the mirror too, body language is important) until you can say it effortlessly.





Helpful Hint: Many lawyers provide more than one legal service to more than one group of professionals. Remember to tailor your elevator pitch to the person with whom you are speaking or the situation in which you are networking. For example, if you are a business lawyer, you will introduce yourself differently to a start-up entrepreneur than to an in-house lawyer at a multinational company. If you have no information about the person, try using the event itself as a way to establish a connection.

Excerpted from The Law Firm Associate’s Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills by Catherine Alman MacDonagh and Beth Marie Cuzzone (ABA, 2007). For more information on the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s new Associates Development book series, visit www.ababooks.org.