Crafting an Elevator Pitch and Developing the Confidence to Use It
Sara Jones, Painter and Resident Designer, Kind Aesthetic • www.kindaesthetic.com
Andrea Wenglowskyj, Resident Portrait and Product Photographer • www.andreawenglowskyj.com
When people ask, “What do you do?” do you have trouble answering or tend to ramble on?Talking about your work in an exciting and confident way is the best way to open doors. During this workshop, we covered the elevator pitch and why it’s important for artists, how to network and create different opportunities to talk about your work and tips for overcoming stage fright. Before the workshop, participants prepared their artist statements and brought in images of their work (printed or on their phone or tablet). They then had the opportunity to craft an elevator pitch, which they shared with the group during a lively networking event at the end of the workshop. They shared these pitches in a productive, encouraging environment of exchange.
A large group of amazing artists attended Kind Aesthetics workshop at TransCultural Exchange’s2016 International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts. Admittedly, not every person was a believer at first. Artists were asked to write the answers to some simple questions: What does your work look like? Why do you make it? What is it about? What inspires you? They were wondering how these words would translate to a verbal pitch. The beauty behind this simple exercise was that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the room had a unique answer. You’d think everyone's elevator pitch would be different right off the bat, right? WRONG!
The first few tries were full of artists saying things like: “I am a painter who works in New York City.” So? Who cares?! There are a million of you. How are you unique? Or: “I make colorful oil paintings about the environment.” Better, but not quite, because that woman in the brown shirt over there just said the same thing.
The group kept digging and pushing, and finally, most people had an “aha” moment where they realized that they could summarize what they did in one sentence in a clear way by describing their work visually and adding a brief statement about the conceptual drive or subject matter behind their work.They had just written it all down at the beginning of the workshop. The goal of a pitch is to be specific enough to be memorable and open doors. The true test for participants was getting up and practicing how to talk about their answers to their peers. How do you translate big concepts and visual work into a short pitch? It's NOT easy, but this exercise proved to be vital to opening up doors of opportunity.