Everyone Needs An Elevator Introduction

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You need an elevator introduction. Yes, you, the recently unemployed. Yes, you, the single person who wants to meet someone special. Yes, you, the college graduate who has no idea where to find a job. And yes, even you, the at-home mom.

Not an elevator pitch – which you might use to sell a product or service – a simple elevator introduction which sells you! I am talking about a quick way to introduce yourself which frames who you are, what you do, and where you want to go in a way that makes someone want to continue talking with you. This is your chance to give someone a reason to take a second look at you and see what you want them to see about you.

Everyone needs an effective way to introduce themselves to someone new because we are always in the process of connecting the dots of our lives through the people we meet and you never know where the next connection is going to take you.  Making connections opens doors.

Especially if you don’t have a job you like, you need an elevator introduction. Thinking through what you want to say about yourself ahead of time ensures that you don’t miss an opportunity to connect. An elevator introduction which confidently and comfortably rolls off your tongue is the difference between getting a response of “really? tell me more!” and “oh, okay, that’s nice.”  We all need to hear “really? tell me more!” – both to create opportunities for ourselves, as well as to preserve our egos.

The single most important function of a good elevator introduction is that it draws your listener toward you into further conversation.

When I had young kids, I used to dread going to social events where I would have to talk with people I didn’t know well.  Even though I knew leaving my corporate job to be at home with my kids was the right choice for me, I didn’t feel that I had anything interesting to say about myself. My days were spent filling sippy cups and changing diapers.  I was buried in the mundane details of my daily life. Whenever I found myself answering the question, “what do you do?” with “I am a mom,” the response I heard more often than not was something like “oh, that’s great and, uh, really worthwhile, and, um, I am going to go get another drink.”

I realize now that I could have saved myself a lot of awkward moments and had many more interesting conversations if I had found a way to introduce myself in a way that made it easier for my conversation partner to engage and connect with me.  I could have said, “I am raising the next generation of slackers” or “I am breeding excellent wives and husbands” – depending on how proud I was feeling about my parenting that day.  Either of those responses would have opened up a range of conversation topics that I could weigh in on.

I also could have said “I am doing time in the family trenches before starting my next gig running a custom cupcake business” (or whatever I wanted to be doing next).  This response would have directed the conversation around to a place that might yield a professional networking opportunity. Or a referral to a reliable babysitter. You never know where your conversation will lead when you give up the effort to appear “perfect” and share something true about yourself.

As I have often said on this blog, authenticity is the key to connecting. Add in a dose of positivity and enthusiasm and your elevator introduction becomes magnetic.

People connect with each other through aspirations, imperfections, and vulnerabilities. Presenting yourself as “perfect” is just boring, so don’t even try for that. An interesting and authentic elevator introduction makes you more accessible to other people and sets you up for getting more of what you want. Being real about where you are makes it possible to share where you want to go. Every new person you meet brings a wide range of experiences and contacts and could very well be the “dot” that connects you to your next big thing.

In a comment below, tell us your standard answer to “what do you do?”  Everyone who answers this question will be entered into a random drawing to win 1 hour of elevator introduction brainstorming with me. In that hour, we will talk about what you do, how you see yourself, where you want to go, and work on your elevator introduction so that it rolls off of your tongue easily and confidently!

Thank you to Taylor for the photo of the rock lady!

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  1. Susannah says:

    Hello, great suggestion and an interesting post, it’ll be fascinating if this is still the state of affairs in a few months time!

    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks Susannah!

  2. Hi, I have really enjoyed reading your blog and hearing about your story. I am the owner of a small store that specializes in vintage finds for the home and garden. I get to find new homes for things from the past. I also carry new items with a vintage flair. I spent my early adult life raising my family and being totally available for everyone and now I get to do my thing! I love it! When I was a stay at home mom I always introduced myself as a “life coordinator”. Thanks for your conversations.

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Cheri, thanks so much for your note! I will take a look at your store’s website – I love old stuff!!!! Good for you getting to do what you enjoy now – I think too many people think it isn’t possible to be happy in their work. Also, I love the title “life coordinator” – that certainly sums it up!

  3. Allie says:

    Excellent post! We are linking to this particularly great post
    on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    1. annie kip says:


  4. First, I love your new site design! Second, I love the thinking in this post. I’ve read lots about elevator pitches, but never anything about elevator introductions. So smart…and now I’m really thinking about all the lame ways in which I’ve introduced myself. Now I know more why that’s always felt so hard and awkward for me.

    Because I’d love any reason to talk with you for an hour (but could really use some help with elevator brainstorming), I’ll bite on your offer:

    “I’m an instructional coach to teachers.”

    Which is usually met with a blank stare, because no one knows what that means. Not to mention, it has little to do with what I really want to be.

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Rita, you are so nice! I would love to spend an hour chatting with you over coffee – or a glass of wine! I want to know what it is that “really want to be”!!! Do tell!

  5. Jean Owen says:

    “Anything I want” has become my initial response to “What do you do ?” Usually it opens the door to more conversation. Once again, Annie, I am taken with your thoughtfulness !
    Love, Jean

    1. annie kip says:

      Jean, I think you have the best Elevator Intro of ALL TIME!!! Who would miss the chance to talk with someone who introduces themself like that!?!? You rparticular brand of hutzpah is one of the many reasons you have so, so many friends!!!

  6. Hello, my name is Sara and I’m trying to take over the world with my stylish frugality! 😉
    The term “Stay at Home Mom” doesn’t really do justice to the job. There is (was) so much more to it – volunteering, fundraising, managing, and teaching those future spouses.
    And, now that my kids are older, I’ve realized it’s a shorter amount of time – meaning I can do anything I want!
    Thanks, Annie. Good reminders.

    1. annie kip says:

      Very nice, Sara! And I think you are making progress with your world domination apsirations! Everyone wants to know more about being frugal these days – and you make it fun AND STYLISH!!! That is an irresistable Elevator Intro!

  7. Natalie Davidson says:

    I travel all over our country visiting the federal and state prisons selling products for their commissary so I can come home to what seems to a perfect son and boyfriend. However everyone in my life is perfect when i spend my days driving from prison to prison! Makes my life very shiny!

    1. annie kip says:

      Very good point, Natalie! We forget that our reality is so influenced by our own perception of it and the criteria we use to decide what we think of it. You sound like my kind of “glass half-full” girl! Someone else might complain that they had to travel and be away so much – but you see it as “perfect” because of how it feels when you finally get home! I am happy for you! Thanks for your comment!

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