When I think about an elevator speech, I think about bras. Most people have the wrong one and it doesn’t really work for them. Sure it does the job in the mean time, but it could probably be better. And just like a great fitting bra, once you have one you never know how you ever lived without it.
A while back I took a class that looked at the different aspects of business. As an artist I don’t always think about myself as a business, but when you break it down it is key component.
During the class we were challenged to think about what made us unique and what we thought people would want to know. Having a plan makes the inevitable conversation so much easier.
I don’t know how many times I have been approached and people ask me what kind of pictures do I take. I want to give them a simple answer that summarizes the body of my work, but I usually end up doing myself disservice and start off saying something like this:
“Well yea know, I take all sorts of pictures. It’s kind of hard to describe but……well I guess you could call it…..”
In that short amount of time I have already lost their interest and probably made them less interested in my work.
I have always had a hard time committing to a specific pitch, because I thought that it might limit what people think about me and my work. But on the flip side if I am giving them a bunch of garble I’m not really doing myself any favors either.
After becoming more and more irritated with myself by my responses I have finally decided that it is time to be a little more proactive with my image and create a solid elevator speech.
It’s really quite simple too. Now when people ask me what I do for photography I tell them that I take portraits of nature. So far this has seemed to spark some level of curiosity and I get to explain and even show them some of my pictures.
Like I said it’s concise and gets people interested and is far better then fumbling over what my art isn’t about versus what it is about.
Of course in all reality you should be prepared with a little more information than that. I like to think of things in terms of food, and in this case a sandwich. Important aspects of your career could be education, time in the field and then the direction you are headed or current projects. Smush all that together with what you do and you’ll be just fine.
I know people say to practice things like this on family and friends, but I am really not fan of putting myself out there to the people who make fun of me the most.
I try to if at all possible without seeming to self-center bring up my photography in conversation. That way I get a chance to practice my elevator speech during casual conversations. After my encounters I try to think about what felt right and what did’t go so well.
They always say practice makes perfect and I think in this case it really does apply. The more you talk about the better you will get and the more confident about yourself and your product you’ll be.
In my opinion confidence really is key. Even if you are just starting out be proud of what you have to offer and internalize your self worth. That type of mentality will take you further than you think.