How to Create an Awesome Elevator Pitch for Executive Support Professionals

Explaining what I do in my role as a Chief of Staff is not always easy to sum up in a sentence or two. And to complicate matters, Chief of Staff roles, like that of Executive Assistants, can vary greatly between organizations. There is not a common frame of reference to well, reference. Long story short? Trying to explain what Executive Assistants and Chiefs of Staff do each day is hard, am I right? It’s even more difficult when we’re talking about presenting our unique contributions, strengths, interests, and results in a succinct way to a company or Executive.

Generally, I like to sum up my job as “doing whatever it takes to help run and grow the company.” But that vague and all-encompassing (maybe even, all-powerful?) description doesn’t fly when speaking at an event, networking, or interviewing for a new opportunity. If I can’t accurately and succinctly describe what I do, how can I expect anyone else to understand the scope of work I do or the value that I (and other Force Multipliers) bring to a company?

Enter the elevator pitch.

Elevator pitches are not just for entrepreneurs, start-ups, or Shark Tank contestants. Executive Assistants and Chiefs of Staff (really all professionals) should hone their elevator pitch in order to quickly, confidently, and memorably tell their career story and share what they bring to the table. You never know when you may be presented with a new opportunity, asked to explain your role while your Exec is being interviewed, or yes, stuck in an elevator with [insert your professional idol here].

The Dos & Dont’s of crafting an elevator pitch:

  • DO keep it clear and simple
  • DO include your side hustles, passion projects, volunteer work, and personality, if applicable!
  • DO include numbers and specific examples to tell the story of your work
  • DO focus on the problems you solve and the results you achieve
  • DO make your pitch interactive and open to conversation
  • DO include the company or CEO you support if and when relevant
  • DON’T use corporate jargon or vague wording
  • DON’T undersell or oversell your experience
  • DON’T focus only on what you do
  • DON’T use the same elevator pitch in every situation, have a couple of versions ready for various situations (internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, family, etc.)

Here’s an example of my elevator pitch from several years ago:

I’m the Executive Assistant to an entrepreneur. He owns several companies, mostly in real estate, development, and leadership and business coaching. I don’t actually work in real estate though or work with any clients. I help manage the office, operations, my boss’s time and schedule, prepare for speaking engagements, work on social media, and generally anything else that he needs help with that isn’t part of his 20%. That is, anything that isn’t in his 20% (his most important activities); the miscellaneous 80%, is what I handle.

I had to flip the script! I love what I do. I’ve been doing it for almost ten years, with the same Executive, no less. And yet, I was boring myself and stumbling over my words trying to clarify and validate what I did each day. Yes, we Force Multipliers wear a lot of hats, but I didn’t even know how to explain my own role. How could I expect anyone else to understand or appreciate what I did? How could I expect new opportunities for myself or the company to emerge when others were still trying to decipher where I fit in the organization and how my role at the company could benefit them?

Here’s the new version:

I help leaders clarify their vision, find organizational gaps, and create the roadmap for how to get their vision from A to Z. Asking questions is my superpower, which leads to better decision making across the organization. I use my entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills to serve as Chief of Staff to the Founder & CEO of a family enterprise, where I focus my time on providing strategic advice (mostly asking more questions) and leading special projects. Right now, we’re working on… writing our next book/launching our year-long coaching program/building a SaaS company/[insert whatever we’re working on next].

Elevator pitches do need to be adapted based on the situation. At a casual summer barbecue, I might say something like, “You know what the Chief of Staff does for the President? That’s what I do for the CEO of a portfolio of companies. Right now we’re working on hiring the rest of the leadership team for our development firm. Do you know anyone interested in a CFO role?”

When the audience is more familiar with the Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff role, I may tailor my elevator pitch to the unique parts of my role: “Chief of Staff roles can vary across companies, industries, and Executives. In my role, I spend much of my time leading special projects that fulfill Adam’s vision of helping others use business as a conduit for their personal growth. Right now, we are gearing up to launch a new book that will coincide with a relaunch of our podcast – Business Meets Spirituality.”

Here are a few examples of other Force Multiplier elevator pitches:

Enabling Executives to achieve more in less time so they can focus on expanding their reach and making their impact. – Maggie Jacobs, Author, Trainer, Executive Administrator

Every great executive has a great team, each person playing an integral role. The team member that provides administrative support is a pivotal one, rarely seen, yet arguably having the most profound impact on an Executive’s daily life. I have over 15 years in this crucial role, keeping Executives organized, prioritized, and on-task while converting abstract ideas into seamless operations. – Tasha Hughes, Chief of Staff

My job is to make your life less stressful, more organized and more productive. As an architect of solutions and conduit of information across the office, I ensure my executive and team are able to function at top productivity. – MistiLynn Lokken, Executive Assistant

The elevator pitch isn’t just for in-person conversations. It’s a great calling card to add to your LinkedIn profile or resume. Speaking of which, I’ll be using this elevator pitch framework and the inspiration above to be updating my LinkedIn profile shortly!

Bottom line, sharing what we do and the value we bring is a tall order. It is a challenge to sum it up in a few sentences. And you’re going to get it wrong more than once (I know I did!). But keep working on it. Keep honing your elevator pitch. Write it down and practice. An elevator pitch is part of cultivating your executive presence as a Force Multiplier and leader.

Share your elevator pitch in the comments below!

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