By: Erin Betman

@Erin_Betman

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Eventually, you’re going to need to use an elevator pitch. These are short persuasive speeches given to convince someone to do something for you. The best place to practice these is on campus is begging for money. Recently I sold spirit beads to tailgaters to raise money for the Greater Lansing Food Bank through Hubbell Connections. Here are some tips that helped me sell over 200 beads and collect over $50 in donations.

#1 Introduce Yourself

If you can’t even tell people your name, they have no reason to trust that you’re telling them the truth. The first thing you should tell someone is your name and something relevant about yourself. This will only give you more credibility. In the tailgating example I told them I was a senior studying advertising and PR.

#2 Tell Them Who You Represent

Make sure you tell them who you represent and a few details about the organization. The more details you use, the less chance they will doubt your story. Just be careful not to give too many facts. This is an elevator pitch after all, so try and keep it short.

#3 Get Your Foot In The Door

This is where you start getting to the point. Begin by asking for a small favor. In our example we simply asked them to buy a set of beads for a dollar. This is small and the people are more likely to give more after that. Most families I asked to buy one set of beads ended up buying between five and ten.

#4 Use Some Humor to Keep Them Interested

If they’re not interested by the end of the presentation, they won’t invest in you. Throwing in a joke or two will keep them on their toes, especially if the joke makes it easy to identify with you. When selling beads, I described PRSSA as an organization with a mission to give real-life experience to students. This was when we can graduate we can actually get jobs. More than half of the people I talked to laughed at this and felt inspired to give, as they’ve been in my place before.

#5 Dress the Part

This doesn’t always mean professional dress. Before you plan for your pitch, you should analyze the situation. In a condition like our example, a PRSSA t-shirt with other green and white clothes was perfectly acceptable. In most cases, professional dress will be necessary. Use your best judgment, as first impressions are everything in elevator pitches.If you’d like some help practicing your elevator pitches, feel free to tweet me @Erin_Betman. I’d love to help and hear from all of you.

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