Pitch Like a Pro: Tips to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

Take a cue from the pitching professionals to launch your elevator pitch to the next level.

In the midst of Major League Baseball’s spring training, new players try out for roster and position spots, while existing players get in some practice time before the true competition begins.

While I admittedly don’t know a lot about baseball, I am blessed with a family full of men who take this American tradition rather seriously and keep me in the loop. When I think about spring training and baseball season, I immediately recognize its similarities with the job search. There’s a lot of competition, and many talented professionals vying for the same role. It takes a lot of determination, planning and hard work to be a success.

Take these three cues from the pitching pros to launch your elevator pitch to the next level.

Pitch to your strengths

According to the University of Nebraska’s pitching coach Eric Newman, it’s important for a pitcher to know what makes him good and pitch to his strengths. “Too many pitchers want to be good at everything and end up struggling to find success,” Newman says. The same can be said about the job search. When you’re identifying your job goals and preparing your pitch, consider how you can play up your experience and strengths to show your potential value to an employer. Make your strengths the focus of your pitch.

Develop your mound presence

Pitching pros often talk about possessing “mound presence.” Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitcher, describes it as someone who knows how to handle himself on the mound and is confident in his abilities. When you’re practicing your elevator pitch, consider the whole package – not just the words. This includes your posture, eye contact, mannerisms and tone of your voice. Remember, as a job seeker you’re in the business of selling one product – you. You have to deliver your pitch with confidence to get an employer to buy what you’re trying to sell.

Consider who’s at bat

Pitchers study their opponents before a big game to help them deliver the right pitch to each batter when it matters most. For example, Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera is likely to deliver a different pitch for Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox than he would for David Ortiz, based on the player’s style and the circumstance. Before you deliver your elevator pitch, consider your audience. Adapt your pitch based on where the conversation is taking place and who it is with. For instance, you might take out some of the industry terminology and deliver a more casual pitch when discussing your work with a neighbor you bumped into at the local sports bar.

Whether you’re an aspiring professional athlete or a business professional looking for the next opportunity, great preparation is non-negotiable. Use these tips above to improve your pitch this season and take your career to the next level.