Creative Leadership

Why You Need an “Elevator Pitch” For Your Life

If you work in the entertainment industry you know about “elevator pitches.” Essentially, the idea here in Hollywood is that if you meet a big producer or movie studio executive in an elevator, you should be able to deliver a summary of your movie idea in the time span of an elevator ride, or roughly 1-2 minutes. If that short pitch is done right, the producer or executive will want to know more – and theoretically invite you to a meeting. Now, here’s a better idea:

You need an elevator pitch for your life and your dream.  After all, you never know when you’ll meet someone who could offer you a dream job or make your dream happen. That moment might happen at a restaurant, movie theater, church, shopping mall – it doesn’t matter. You should always be ready to articulate where you want to go with your life in a compelling way that inspires people.

So how do you craft an elevator pitch for your life? Remember, you only have 1-2 minutes, so start by answering these questions:

1) Who are you?
2) What do you do?
3) Where do you want to go?
4) How will you get there?
5) How can you help them?

For instance, your pitch might be:

“Hello, (Who are you?) I’m Phil Cooke, and (What do you do?) I work as a warehouse supervisor for our company. But (Where do you want to go?) I’ve always had a gift for motivating and inspiring people, and that’s why my goal is a sales career. As a result, (How will you get there?) I’ve been taking classes in marketing at the local university, and I’m being mentored by one of the top sales pros in the area. (How can you help them?) I’ve noticed that in our Southern region, we have a significant turnover in sales people. I grew up in that area, so I know how they think and respond. That’s why I believe if I was a sales professional there, I could make a significant, positive impact on this company.”

Wow. You just got the boss’s attention.  You did your homework, expressed yourself clearly and quickly, and remembered to include “What’s in it for him.”  He or she will get off that elevator asking a lot of questions about you, the sales department, and why you’re not in it.

An elevator pitch for your life. Write it up. You never know when you’ll need it.

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  1. Here’s mine. (How’d I do?)
    Hello, I’m Steve, and I’m a facilitator of God-gatherings led by the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. These incredible, life-changing meetings are based on 1 Corinthians 14:26 and are destined to spread far and wide and become a mighty, redemptive movement. Yet most people have never even heard of the concept. If you will read my blog post @ it will spark your heart with the possibilities of what God-gatherings can do in your life and in the life of those you care about. Please read it and share it with others and then step out in faith and by getting two, three or more people together for a God-gathering of your own. If you do, it will transform your life!

  2. Hi I am Frank Jakob Eik, I am a father of twins, talented makeup artist and the founder of Christian Film Center. With helping brothers and sister achieve their dream I improve the Christian media.
    I want reach the Hollywood area in Los Angeles.
    I have a gift of connecting with talents better than myself and treat celebrities like normal people.There is a need for persons that know many aspects of film making and connects the perspective of the producer and director with the view of a visual effects house thereby saving time and money. I was trained at Idefagskolen, one of the best international animation colleges.
    I have many skills that can help people like Phil Cooke with helping churches and nonprofits not suck at the media.

  3. As someone who hires people — job entries can be destroyed with one tiny sentence.

    My favorite was, “I’m interested but it depends on how much work there is”
    and, “I hope not having any experience related to the job isn’t a problem.”

    Hallelujah to the elevator pitchers!!

    1. Brilliant point. Being articulate and to the point – and not being self-centered – is life or death in an interview. I’m always baffled at responses like the examples you listed. Thanks for posting that…

      1. Also, your pitch ‘formula’ just made me realize my actions are aiming me away from my actual goal and I need to be shooting myself toward another direction! Immensely helpful! Thank you!

  4. Has anyone ever been hired by an elevator pitch?
    Maybe the elevator pitch could be just as much or more useful for finding direction as in attempting to get hired by an executive. It surely should work for convincing potential costumers, supporters and partners.

    1. Movies have been produced, jobs have been gained, and projects launched because of inspiring elevator pitches. And yes – it can be used to find mentors and get direction as well. Great thought Frank!

  5. I think people get hung up on the terminology of “elevator pitch.” What you’re saying (and what I completely agree with) is that you have to know what you want and be clear about the value you bring to the table. People don’t have time to read between the lines and so many opportunities are missed when you give standard responses. Saying “I’m an actor” in Hollywood makes me think, “You work as a barista somewhere.” There’s such a negative connotation attached without them having to say another word that I’m instantly uninterested.

    If the actor changed the conversation in a way that would be valuable or at least compelling, I’d be more inclined to pass their information along. For instance, “So what do you do?” “I’m actually working on a few projects right now that I’m so excited about. One is a project for a major brand that has gained me a ton of experience working on a corporate set and the other is a passion project I’m working on with an independent production company on a topic that’s important to me.” “Oh interesting, what’s the topic and who is the major brand? Anyone I know?” That secondary question is key because it allows you to continue the story. They’re engaged. And you haven’t even said you’re an actor yet, all they know is that you’re actively working on things that are interesting. Which is point #2 … don’t say you do something and then have nothing to back it up! 😉

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