You’ve got a great business (or business idea), and you want to network. Your potential partners, customers and investors are busy people. How can you convince them that your idea is superior, when you’ve got just a couple of seconds to do so? It all comes down to the elevator pitch.
The elevator pitch is a concise and compelling presentation of yourself or your idea, and it’s about conveying the benefits of your company and the problem that you’ll solve in a short paragraph. One mistake that people often make is to treat the elevator pitch purely as a sales pitch. It’s not. You’re there to promote your company, but an elevator pitch is there to spark interest.
Here are some great, and inspiring, elevator pitches:
- “It might shock you to learn that workers in our industry spend 40% of their time trying to coordinate and manage work tasks. They spend only about 35% of their time doing skilled work, which means much of this time could be better managed. With my project management tools, workers can decrease how much time they spend coordinating with other employees and increase the time they spend doing their jobs. Over time, you’ll see a significant increase in your sales and profits.”
- “A huge part of the human experience that we all share is wanting to build connections. People want to learn and grow with a supportive group. My team collaboration and communication software helps people connect in a way that builds meaningful working relationships and fosters a strong work community. Your business will benefit by having teams that function better than ever before. They will know they are stronger together.”
- “The problem we’re facing in our industry now is that 30% of worker mistakes are due to lack of strategy and increased workload stress. However, that number will become much lower with our remote workforce project management tools. Your business cannot afford to wait any longer to start using our software, especially given its track record so far in the field.”
Rules of the elevator pitch
The core of an elevator pitch lies in its ability to communicate your unique value in a brief timeframe, typically within 30-60 seconds. It demands a balance between brevity and information richness, requiring a clear understanding of your audience and their needs. Tailoring your pitch to cater to the listener’s interests is key—whether you’re presenting to a potential investor, a client, or someone you’ve just met at a networking event.
A compelling elevator pitch should start with a hook, a captivating opening that captures attention and encourages further engagement. This could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote. Following this, the pitch should swiftly transition into a concise summary of who you are or what your product or service entails, emphasising the unique value it offers.
Moreover, a successful elevator pitch is not just about what you say but how you say it. Confidence and passion are contagious. Your delivery—voice modulation, body language, and enthusiasm—can greatly influence how your message is received. Practice is crucial; refining and rehearsing your pitch will enhance its fluency and help you adapt it to different audiences or situations.
Adaptability is another vital aspect of mastering the elevator pitch. The ability to tailor your pitch on the fly, depending on the context and the person you’re engaging with, demonstrates versatility and a deeper understanding of the needs and interests of your audience. This adaptability ensures that your pitch remains relevant and resonates with the listener.
How to get good at the elevator pitch
The first thing you need to know about the elevator pitch is that you’re never going to be able to effectively “wing it.” Make sure that you go through a full brainstorming session to determine exactly what you want to say, and then rehearse it.
When it comes to delivery, you want to convey your enthusiasm. A flat elevator pitch won’t inspire, no matter how good the product is. Take the time to practice your inflections, your delivery, your body language and all the rest of it. If you can, get a camera (a phone camera will do), and practice with someone filming you, so that you can look back at it and refine your performance.
And just like that you’ll be ready for your next set of networking events. Bring your pitch and game face, and look forward to making a splash and drawing a lot of follow-up meetings with interested parties. Over time, the elevator pitch will be a key tool in the toolchest, and an ongoing gateway to making a lasting impression.
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