Advice Centre

Know your audience. Know yourself. – How to write a killer pitch and profile

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Last week I hosted a workshop at the Impact Hub in London on how to create a killer pitch and profile to win work. The event was geared towards freelancers and entrepreneurs looking to build confidence around marketing themselves. An elevator pitch is your verbal pitch that answers the question, “What do you do?” while the written profile for your CV/resume answers the question, “Who are you?” Both are key to developing a strong personal brand.

Interestingly, while I have presented this workshop many times to a variety of audiences, each time is a little different. I usually start off by asking participants to share their goals, struggles and the one thing they want to improve in their pitch or profile. I need to know my audience so I can tailor my messaging, just like I teach others to do.

This week, the group members’ goals for their pitches and profiles were loud and clear: make them sexier, make them more concise, and add in a visual story. Easy enough! With this game plan in mind, I moved on to share what I believe to be the two most important considerations in effectively marketing yourself:

  1. Know your audience to be relevant to the ‘buyer,’ much like I like to do at the beginning of each workshop.
  2. Know yourself to be confident in what you are ‘selling.’

First, we worked on clarifying who would be each participant’s likely audience. Then, we started a short pitch exercise where I asked everyone to answer the, “What do you do” question in 30 seconds and include all of the following elements:

  1. WHO: What do you want them to remember about you?
  2. WHAT: Value you bring in terms of impact
  3. WHY: The unique benefits you bring to the business; how what you do is different from the competition
  4. GOAL: What your immediate objectives are; what do you expect them to do for you (and you for them)

Even with clarity of audience, it can be challenging to put your thoughts together, never mind making your answer sexy and concise. For example, I could sense a few moments into this exercise that it wasn’t quite working for some people and they were getting stuck. To help clarify what I was asking them to do, I offered a different way of thinking about it:

  1. Start with your mantra – that statement that makes me (the hiring manager or new contact) want to ‘click’
  2. End with your ask – what specifically do you want me to do for you?
  3. Draw me a picture with your words – your story is easier to relate to and to remember it if it is visual

In the end, it’s important to remember that there are lots of ways to deliver your message. Focusing on knowing your audience and yourself will help you to create a relevant killer pitch and deliver it with confidence. Good luck!

I would like to extend a special thank you to the Impact Hub for hosting our workshop.

Shannon Houde

About the Author

Shannon Houde, MBA, is founder of Walk of Life Consulting, the first international career coaching business focused solely on the environmental, sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (CR) fields.

Read more about Shannon's credentials →

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