How to Nail Your Elevator Pitch

by Michael Morckos in February 22nd, 2021

Who are you and what do you want?  

When someone asks you that question, you need to have a solid elevator pitch. Whether you’re selling a product, positioning your company, or even just introducing yourself at an industry event, you need to nail this quick description.

In this blog post, we’re sharing how. We’ll cover what an elevator pitch is, how to structure your elevator pitch, and how to make sure your pitch is ready.

What is an elevator pitch?

And elevator pitch is a short speech that lasts between 30 seconds and two minutes that provides a sharp, compelling description of your background, your business, or your idea. 

Now, you might be thinking that your background, your business, and your idea take way more than 30 seconds to share. And you’re right. That’s why an elevator pitch is so important: It communicates the key, need-to-know details and, ideally, leaves the listener wanting to learn more.

This type of quick, compelling description is called an elevator pitch because you should be able to deliver it whenever you get the chance, like running into a decision maker in an elevator. That's also why brevity is important here; the whole pitch should take less than an elevator ride. There are lots of suspect stories about this origin, from hopeful screenwriters during the early days of Hollywood to go-getter journalists looking for their big breaks.

Regardless of how the name came to be, the purpose is clear: When you have such a short time to impress someone, you can’t afford to be stumbling around or trying to think of the right thing to say.

How to structure your elevator pitch

An effective elevator pitch should do four things:

  1. Engage your audience.
  2. Explain your value proposition.
  3. Demonstrate your distinctive difference.
  4. Solve a problem.

Engage

After you introduce yourself, you’ve got to grab their attention. It might be a very short story, an interesting statistic, or something you have in common.

Explain

Tell your audience why you’re approaching them and what you have to offer. What value do they get from meeting you, hiring you, or buying your product?

Demonstrate

Next, you need to make your point-of-difference clear. What is it that you offer that’s any different than anyone else?

Solve a Problem

Ultimately, you want to leave them with the impression that you offer something that solves a problem for them—whether that’s offering a new lead source, saving time with automated processes, or growing their revenue.

How to get your elevator pitch ready

Now that you know what an elevator pitch is and how to structure yours, you need to focus on getting ready to deliver your elevator pitch whenever you have the chance. Your goal is not only to communicate but also to connect with your audience. Here’s how you can get ready to make that happen.

Write your elevator pitch down

This may seem counterintuitive since you’ll be talking, but writing down your elevator speech can help you refine it. Start with an outline or bullet points of the two or three crucial items and work from there.

You certainly don’t want your elevator pitch to come off as rote memorization or reading from a script, but you do want to ensure you hit all the points you need. It can also help you hone your message so you’re not repeating yourself or using too many words.

Writing it down also works as a memory tool. Neuropsychologists call it the “generation effect.” When you generate material and write it down yourself, you’re more likely to recall it (or regenerate it) upon demand.

Rehearse your elevator pitch again and again

NFL teams practice for six days just to play one football game. You need to practice, too.

Rehearse your pitch so you’ve got it down without hesitation. While you might want to practice first in private, you also need to do it in front of an audience. Find a colleague or someone you trust that will give you an honest evaluation of your performance.

Once you’re comfortable with it, test drive it in real-life situations. You might want to attend a conference or networking event and try it out. The idea is to be so comfortable with it, that it becomes almost automatic.

Personalize your pitch

Once you’ve got your elevator pitch nailed, take it to the next level by personalizing it. 

If you know who you’ll be talking to, you’ll need to tailor the main points of your pitch to the person on the receiving end. The more personalized your pitch, the more effective it will be. 

Show some feeling 

You’ve got a very short time to sell yourself or your company. Including stats and background information is great, but you also need to express yourself with feeling

If you truly believe in yourself, your product, or your company, you’ll speak confidently and passionately about the benefits and the problems you can solve. 

Plus, studies show that emotion impacts memory. If you can inspire an emotional reaction to your elevator pitch, you have a much better chance of that story sticking with your audience. 

Nail down your winning elevator pitch

If you’ve never done this before, creating a winning elevator pitch can feel overwhelming. Creating a concise, compelling, and memorable speech in such a short amount of time can seem like a big ask. In business, however, it’s essential. Follow these steps to nail your elevator pitch and make an impression!

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