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5. Start with a question. Does your listener know who you are or what organization you represent? What kind of knowledge do they have about the work done in your sector, or the programming you create? Opening your elevator pitch by letting someone else talk seems counterintuitive, but also secures that person's interest in seeing where the dialog will go.

4. Find something unique, weird, honest, or personal to share that will connect with your listener's experiences. If you know the person you're talking with, connect your org to their experiences (ie, I know you serve on the board at Org X, so I wanted to tell you how our board shapes our mission; has your experience been different?) or your own (ie, when I left the military I needed help accessing basic services, so I know what our clients are going through when they come to my organization now for housing assistance).

3. Have a few practiced anecdotes in your back pocket. If you really only have fifteen seconds of someone's attention, then stick to your macro argument; but if they're willing to give you more time, have an example or two prepared of how your program makes a difference, feedback you've received from the community, or a successful event you helped run.

2. Deliver the pitch to yourself in a mirror. Yes, it really works. Watch your facial expressions, your body language, and how your vocal tone comes across. You don't have to criticize yourself, you just need to understand how your pitch will come across to your listener.

1. End with a question. Invite feedback, reaction, and more dialog. A good pitch invites the conversation to continue, and gets your listener invested in the outcome of the conversation.

5. Social media is interactive, and if your social media person is good enough to be getting into conversations with potential customers or interested vendors, they should be allowed to foster those conversations in the way that makes the most sense in that moment!

4. Social media is of-the-moment, which means your sense of content should also be constantly adjusting. Only someone who is dedicating regular attention to social media will understand the right ways to engage in current conversations.

3. Social media is visual. If you (like many companies!) don't have a big library of visual, video, or interactive content, your coordinator will figure out how to work with what they've got; this often means unconventional use of media and content.

2. Social media has the potential for major wins as well as major failures, and the most important thing you can do is make sure your social media coordinator is well resourced and knowledgeable about your brand. Opportunities for attention are often off-the-cuff, and your coordinator needs to be able to behave in that same way.

1. Social media is interactive. Try as you might, you'll never come up with enough pre-approved replies that have gone through your legal, compliance, marketing, brand, or other in-house experts to totally encapsulate your social media coordinator's job. For social media, brand guidelines are a best practice and a reference, but not the bottom line.

5. If your budget is literally zero, you can still choose to set aside time for socializing with a potluck on site. Take the time to prepare a speech or email for everyone, thanking them for their specific projects and efforts this year.

4. If your budget is small or your team is huge, go for something easy + something heartfelt. Try a baked good from a local bakery + a little note about what your team's impact has been this year.

3. If you've got the budget for a good event, throw a good event! It's fine if this is in your office or somewhere else easy to put together, as long as you've got a fun activity or two and some good food.

2. If your team is small enough, take them out on the town; nothing is so bonding as watching your boss do bad karaoke. If your team has some emotions to work out at the end of the year, try axe throwing. (Seriously.)

1. The best holiday gift you can give your team is 1) foresight about active projects to help them actually get offline through the holidays, 2) making it a policy that folks leave their laptops at the office when they go home for the holidays, and 3) leading by example. Don't email anyone or ask for anything during any of the major winter holidays.

© 2020 by Elaine Schleiffer