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Extending your elevator pitch
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(To avoid the shameless plug for the value in attending Chapter meetings, skip to the next paragraph.) Have I told you how much I LOVE harmonization? I once again took advantage of my global membership and attended multiple Chapter meetings in November. The IIBA DC Metro Chapter hosted an informal Lightning Talk session the week before Thanksgiving. If you haven’t had a chance to attend this format, I strongly recommend it. Ask your Chapter to do it! It was, by far, the most social, intimate, and collaborative meeting of my entire year. I also attended the IIBA Southeast Wisconsin Chapter meeting on elevator pitches. This topic stuck with me for a few weeks.
First, what is an elevator pitch? The Center for Career Development at Princeton University defines an elevator pitch as “a brief (think 30 seconds!) way of introducing yourself, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone.” At the Chapter meeting, Mark Rayha, Past President of the former IIBA Greater Madison Chapter shared his organization’s need, process, and definition of its elevator pitch. Essentially, he and his team needed a brief statement as to what a Business Analyst does. This is a statement then that all the BAs in his organization can use when describing the value they bring to others. My organization did a similar exercise in the past. We did a roadshow throughout IT and then to our business partners. (Insert popular tire swing comic here.) At that point in the evolution of our practice, it was a fantastic and much-needed marketing and branding campaign.
Mark’s presentation started me wondering though….where else and why else might I need an elevator pitch? Mark referenced attending social functions with his wife, where he inevitably needed to explain what he did as a profession. A few years ago, at a regional professional development day, one (BA) presenter offered: “I’m an architect.” He then went on to explain his elevator pitch by correlating business analysis to designing a house. I have tried unsuccessfully with this analogy. I need to work on the polish.
Okay, so, I need an elevator pitch to explain to my company what I do. Check. I need one to explain to my family and friends what I do. Check. However, at this time of year especially, I started thinking of a few other reasons to have an elevator pitch. For one, if your organization is like mine, you are in the midst of year-end performance evaluations. Who actually reads the copious text that you pour into the diary of your accomplishments over the course of a year? Yep – your boss – hopefully at more than a scan. What are you telling OTHERS though about what you accomplished this year, about your work in flight, about your ideas for next year? I realized I wanted an elevator pitch for those instances in which I intersect with my senior leadership team. When he/she/they casually ask “How’s it going?”, I want to be able to respond with a brief description of what I am/have done for the organization. To consistently make the most out of those opportunities throughout the year, I need to be conscientiously evolving my elevator pitch to include timely updates and thoughts.
Beyond that (boss, close your eyes), what about your resumes? How can an elevator pitch help with crafting your resumes? With the “Great Resignation,” there are articles everywhere about resumes and interviewing. A recent BA Times article focused on the importance of having a summary or objective statement. Could your elevator pitch segue into one of those or vice versa? Elevator pitches are intended to pique interest and create connections. What better venue than your resume to highlight them?
These are just a few of the places I have noted where I need an elevator pitch. What about you? Where have you found that they are necessary in your professional and personal lives?
As always, thank you to the IIBA Chapters who hosted me this month; and thank you to Mark Rayha for his thought-provoking topic.
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About the Author:
Koryn Anderson enjoyed a couple of careers before finding her ultimate one. She has been a business analyst for more than 10 years and is currently a Lead Business Analyst at Baird. She is passionate about the BA discipline, has her CBAP® certification, is Past President of the Southeast Wisconsin Chapter, and is the current Communications Director for the Global Chapter Council.