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How to Nail Your Elevator Pitch in 6 Steps

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Quick: You have a potential investor's attention while he waits for his cab, or you meet someone at a dinner party who works for your dream employer. Convincing this person in less than 30 seconds that you have a brilliant, profitable idea or are the smart, capable person they need to help their company grow is a tall order. But we know you have it in you—once you follow these six simple steps, that is.

1. THINK ABOUT YOUR GOAL.

No matter how fabulous your elevator pitch, you're not going to be offered the investment or job opportunity on the spot, says Chris O’Leary, author of Elevator Pitch Essentials. “That’s not possible,” he says. “Instead, your goal is to just get a conversation started.” You want to make a connection, pass along a business card, and get them to agree to chat again about the next step.

2. FOCUS ON YOUR OPENING STATEMENT.

This is key, says Catherine MacDermott, professor of Business Communication at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. If you're pitching yourself in a job interview, don’t bother introducing yourself with your title. Instead, try presenting your role in a light that really shows how you’re helping your company—and how you’d benefit theirs. "For example, instead of saying, 'Hi, I am Jane Smith, and I am a college tutor,' why not say something like, 'I'm Jane Smith and I help students succeed,'" MacDermott says.

3. SOLIDIFY YOUR CONNECTION.

James O’Rourke, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame, says you want to find common ground with the person you're pitching. When you introduce yourself, explain how you know them—is yours a family, university, or business connection?

4. MAKE CLEAR WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR...

Once you give your descriptive introduction, “Then, make the transition into what’s next, what you’re looking for long-term," says O'Rourke. But your aspiration has to connect with your qualifications and the steps you're taking to get there, whether that be finishing up your master’s degree in science at night or seeking your MBA.

5. ... AND WHAT YOU NEED FROM THEM.

The best you can get from this first conversation is an agreement to continue the conversation—either with this person or someone more appropriate. So before you part ways, ask if you can get another, longer meeting on the calendar or if they can put you in touch with someone else. O'Rourke suggests saying something like, "I'm looking to make the next step, seeking contact in the world of [finance, education, publishing—whatever it is], and I’m hoping you might help me head in this direction."

6. LEAVE YOUR BUSINESS CARD.

If they decline to help, ask if you can simply leave your business card. Which, by the way, you should have handy. You never know when you’ll be making your next elevator pitch, so it should be in your suit pocket, purse, or another container that's readily available, O’Rourke says.

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Art
See How Careful Restoration Can Illuminate a 17th-Century Painting
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Many of the most famous oil paintings ever committed to canvas, like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Rembrandt van Rijn's The Night Watch, aren't just made of paint, but include a top layer of protective varnish, too. This clear coating preserves the paint beneath it for centuries, but it also decays and darkens over time, causing scenes to look vastly different than what the artist intended. To demonstrate how much aged varnish can affect a painting, art dealer Philip Mould (co-creator of the BBC One show Fake Or Fortune?) recently gave his Twitter followers a step-by-step look at the restoration process.

As Mashable reports, the varnish on the 17th-century painting in the clips and photos below is 200 years old. Painted in 1618, the image depicts an anonymous Jacobean-era woman who posed for the portrait when she was 36.

As the varnish is stripped away from the piece with a paintbrush and solvent, you can see the soft, rosy colors the artist originally chose start to come through. The process reveals colors and details that would have been lost as long as the yellowed protective layer remained.

For a closer look at how professionals can salvage paintings from the destructive forces of time, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of art restorers.

[h/t Mashable]

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infographics
How Your Job Can Predict Whether Or Not You’ll Get Divorced
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These days, divorce is actually on the wane—2016 marked a nearly 40-year low in U.S. divorces—but whether or not you and your beloved spouse eventually part ways isn’t entirely up to fate. While individual relationships are all unique, statistically, there are demographic and other factors that influence whether or not a couple will divorce, from no-brainers like whether or not you’re willing to share chores equitably to more subtle factors like whether one partner smokes.

Your job matters too, as statistician Nathan Yau found in his analysis of 2015 data from the Census Bureau’s 5-year American Community Survey. As Business Insider and Entrepreneur report, the data shows that there can be vastly different divorce statistics when you’re talking about the marriages of bartenders and those of physical therapists, for instance.

A graph shows blue clusters plotting the links between income levels and divorce rates in different jobs.
Nathan Yau // Flowing Data

That doesn’t mean that going to work in a physical therapy office somehow better equips you for marriage than tending bar. Higher incomes and education levels, both intimately tied to your job, are also correlated with lower divorce rates. Sure, maybe the fact that flight attendants have to be away from their families for their job plays into their high divorce rates, but perhaps the type of person who wants to be a flight attendant might also be less inclined to settle down compared to people who dream of being an actuary.

Where does your job fall? Here are 10 fields with the lowest divorce rates surveyed:

1. Actuaries: 17 percent
2. Physical scientists: 18.9 percent
3. Medical and life scientists: 19.6 percent
4. Clergy: 19.8 percent
5. Software developers, applications and systems software: 20.3 percent
6. Physical therapists: 20.7 percent
7. Optometrists: 20.8 percent
8. Chemical engineers: 21.1 percent
9. Directors of religious activities and education: 21.3 percent
10. Physicians and surgeons: 21.8 percent

And here are the 10 highest-divorcing industries:

1. Gaming managers: 52.9 percent
2. Bartenders: 52.7 percent
3. Flight attendants: 50.5 percent
4. Gaming services workers: 50.3 percent
5. Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic: 50.1 percent
6. Switchboard operators: 49.7 percent
7. Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic: 49.6 percent
8. Telemarketers: 49.2 percent
9. Textile knitting and weaving machine operators: 48.9 percent
10. Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders: 48.8 percent

Explore the data further on Flowing Data.

[h/t Business Insider]

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