Bolster
For CEOs For CXOs

How to Pitch Yourself in 15 Seconds - And Get the Job!

Earlier this month, we hosted our first member community event on “Creating your 15-second pitch” with Laura Allen, founder of ThePitchGirl.com. Laura has 20+ years of experience in advertising, online marketing, and sales. She has been a guest speaker for NYU, Columbia and Pace University; and has been featured in Adweek, The Financial Times, and Crain’s New York Business. So, as you can imagine, she knows her stuff.

Over 300 Bolster members joined the conversation to learn how to improve their “15 second pitch”. Laura offered live coaching to two brave volunteers to give people a sense for the process, and dozens of folks shared their pitches in the chat to offer community support and feedback. We were blown away by the engagement and sharing, so we decided to do something we hadn’t planned and write back to each person who shared their pitch to offer refinement feedback. Bolster recruiting superstar, Paula Wood, took this on and worked 1:1 with each member to give them suggestions on how to improve their pitch.

We thought it would be interesting to share a few anonymized before and after examples, noting the suggested changes to help our members and other executives sharpen their pitches. Sound useful to you? Read on!

Per Laura, your 15 second pitch should include the following:

  1. Who You Are
  2. What you do / What you want to do (specifically)
  3. What makes you the best at what you do
  4. Your call to action

Example 1

Original Pitch: Silicon Valley based operating partner and board director. 20 years advising CEOs on inorganic growth - scaled P&L to $50M and expanded globally. Helped transform three industries; experienced UK corporate director. Looking to join a second public company board: US or UK mid-cap, financial services / insurance / hospitality / retail sectors.

Pretty good pitch, right? Read on to turn ‘pretty good’ into ‘great’!

Pitch Feedback: They mentioned “helped to transform three industries” - we wanted to know; which industries? How? What was the result?

Revised Pitch: I am a strategic CEO thought partner, operating partner, and board director with over 20 years advising CEOs on inorganic growth. I advised on strategic growth in new international markets by scaling P&L to $50M and resulted in global expansion. I helped transform three industries; Financial Services, Media, and Telecommunications. I am looking to join a second public company board: US or UK mid-cap in financial services / insurance / hospitality / retail sectors.

Example 2

Original Pitch: I’m the CEO of a startup that won 2 awards from MIT to build remote AI teams for the enterprise.

Pitch Feedback: It’s not complete enough. To complete your pitch think about the following:

  • Who You Are: I am the CEO of an award winning B2B artificial intelligence marketplace startup.
  • What you do / What you want to do (specifically): We successfully built AI teams of XXX that accomplished XXX – Or what are you passionate about?
  • What makes you the best at what you do: How did you win these awards? By doing what?
  • Your call to action: What do you want your network to do for you? Are you looking for fractional / advisory / or board opportunities? For what type of industries or companies?
  • Laura also suggested to be specific. Focus on one thing and not everything.

Revised pitch: I am the CEO of a B2B artificial intelligence marketplace startup, that successfully matches AI professionals for the enterprise. My company won 1st place in MIT’s knowledge-economy Hackathon and was awarded Top 20 most promising young startup by MIT MENA. I’m looking to help B2B enterprise companies scale their competitive advantage through building better and smarter remote AI teams faster.

Example 3

Original Pitch: I’m a senior technology executive. I help teams plan and execute complex projects and plans quickly and efficiently. I have done it successfully at semiconductor, automotive, defense, medical, and security organizations. Contact me so I can help your teams.

Pitch Feedback:

  • How can you show who you are pitching what you could do for them and their business? What type of work can you do? What will make them lean in and engage?
  • Show your experience and skills rather than tell.

Revised Pitch: I am a CIO and Global IT Project & Program Executive. I plan and execute complex IT projects and plans quickly and efficiently. My deep experience in the application of information technology to automate, transform, and enable business digitally by leveraging the power of data has helped CEOs achieve high IT performance. I am looking to help start up technology organizations get the most out of IT, increase revenue, reduce costs, and innovatively transform their company.

Time for Action: Keep this in mind as you develop your pitch:

  • Being general will not help you: Focus on one thing, not everything.
  • That said, you may need multiple pitches: “A pitch for every niche.”
  • Don’t include your back story – too long.
  • Be memorable: Provide specific examples and/or a specific accomplishment.
  • Don’t just state what you did, but how you did it to highlight. Why you are the best at what you do.
  • Consider including what you are passionate about.

We hope that getting your verbal pitch down will also help you with your Bolster profile. Another tool you may find useful is the Anatomy of a Great Profile. Use it to get ideas to help your Bolster profile stand out.

And if you’re not a Bolster member yet, learn more and sign up for your free profile here.

Lastly, if you’re a company interested in working with someone like Laura to create and implement a sales strategy or have other fractional executive needs, sign up for a Bolster account today and find an on-demand executive who can help asap.

Thanks again to Laura Allen, “The Pitch Girl” for an informative and inspirational presentation!

- Micah Mador, March 25, 2021