It’s a Monday afternoon, and you’re getting ready to leave the office after a typical day in your project management world. The elevator door opens up, and standing right in front of you is your project’s sponsor.
You walk in with a smug smile on your face, feeling comfortable and confident, knowing that you are prepared to answer any question your project sponsor could possibly come up with.
Then, the unexpected happens.
“You’re the project manager on my critical-and-high-profile project ABC, right?”
“So tell me, who are you? What is it that you do?”
The elevator doors slide closed, and you realize:
Your project sponsor has just asked you for your personal elevator pitch, and you have no idea where to start.
Let’s take a step back.
An elevator pitch is: A one to two sentence description of your unique promise of value that can be delivered in the span of an elevator ride.
Not long ago, I thought elevator pitches were only for startup businesses courting investors, hoping for a piece of the venture capital pie.
Then one day, I discovered the power and necessity of personal branding, and I was a changed woman.
I immersed myself in reading and learning about the importance of knowing, strengthening, and communicating my values, passion, and ultimately my purpose in life.
What I discovered was so powerful that I feel the need to continuously share it with others:
In order to succeed and achieve your personal goals, you must know what your unique qualities are that differentiate you from everyone else.
You must know this so well that you can summarize it in (preferably) one sentence. Capturing what makes you YOU in this way allows you to take the first steps toward owning and taking control of your brand in the eyes of the world.
As project managers, we sometimes fall into the trap of not wanting to toot our own horns, and we shy away from attributing project success to our own efforts as well as the team’s.
This is honorable and selfless, and it’s part of what makes a project manager great.
However, if we completely neglect to focus on and reinforce the things that make each of us unique, we become seen as coordinators and task trackers, rather than the leaders and success enablers we truly are.
As project managers, it’s not enough to be “good enough” at what we do. Anyone can read a book on the fundamentals of project management, go through the motions, and get the work done.
NOT anyone, however, can do what you do, exactly the way you do it. Only you can deliver project communications in that magical diplomatic way that you do. Only you can walk into a meeting and change the tone and attitude from negative to positive within seconds of arriving. Only you can bring that unique, unexpected perspective and get your team to think outside the box.
Personally, I believe project managers are leaders, each possessing a certain magical skill that adds unique value to every project.
Figure out what your project management specialty (magic) is, and own it.
Create your elevator pitch, review it, and rehearse it until it rolls off your tongue with ease and authenticity.
What are you waiting for? Start now!
Do you have an elevator pitch?
About Our Guest Contributor
Hala Saleh, CSM, PMP is a project excellence passionista with experience working on and managing projects in the software development, consumer electronics, and financial services fields.
An Agile enthusiast, Hala has implemented a range of project management methodologies, including Agile as well as traditional waterfall frameworks.
Having traveled and worked with teams both in the U.S. as well as abroad, she has developed an open‐minded approach to managing projects and leading people.
Hala possesses a passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, continuous improvement, and maximizing the potential of teams and individuals.