The Elevator Pitch…Get Yours Ready

Ever heard of the “Elevator Pitch”?

The Elevator Pitch

If you have done any research on entrepreneurship, frequented any marketing or networking events, or had a heart to heart with business professionals I’m sure the phrase elevator pitch has come up.

What is it exactly?

By definition an elevator pitch is a summary used to quickly and simply define your product or service.  The name comes from the fact that your pitch should be able to be delivered in the time it takes to get through a couple of floors on an elevator.

Is it necessary?

Absolutely! You never know when an opportunity will present itself.  In the business world, TIME=MONEY and no one wants to waste either one.  So how do you do it?  How do you sum up your big idea, product, or service in less than a minute?

Forbes gives us some amazing tips! Check some of them out below:

1. Clarify your target.

A famous quote says it best, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”  Nail down the best way to describe your idea, product, or service.  Until you can clearly explain it, no one can be expected to understand it.

2. Put it on paper.

Write down everything you would want a prospective client, customer, or investor to know about your idea, product, or service.  Then edit out everything that isn’t necessary to know upfront.  Get it down to a few bullet points or sentences. Your goal is to interest the listener in learning more, not to tell your whole life story. So be sure to remove extraneous details that detract from your core message.

3. Format it.

A good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What you do? What you are looking for?

4. Tailor the pitch to them, not you.

Remember, the people listening to your speech will have their antennas tuned to WIFM (What’s In It for Me?) So be sure to focus your message on their needs.  Use benefit-focused terminology to help convince that your idea, product, or service is beneficial to them.

5. Eliminate industry jargon. 

You need to make your pitch easy for anyone to understand, so avoid using acronyms and tech-speak that the average person might not understand.

6. Read your pitch out loud.

As Fast Company’s Deborah Grayson Riegel recently pointed out in her article “The Problem With Your Elevator Pitch and How to Fix It,” writing is more formal and structured than speaking. If you’re not careful, your elevator pitch can come off sounding more like an infomercial than a conversation.

7. Practice, practice, practice (then solicit feedback). 

Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror or use the recording capabilities of your smart phone, so you can hear how you sound.  The more you practice, the smoother your delivery will sound.  Try it out on a few friends and ask them what they thought of your pitch. If their response doesn’t square with your objective, the pitch still needs work.

8. Prepare a few variations.

Anticipate different audiences.  Work up a couple of different speeches where you customize it to different situations.

9. Nail it with confidence.

The best-worded elevator pitch in the world will fall flat unless it’s conveyed well.  When you give the speech, look the person in the eye, smile and deliver your message with a confident, upbeat delivery.

In conclusion, just because it’s a short spill doesn’t mean there isn’t work involved in getting it ready.  But the feeling when you nail a new client, customer, or investor….priceless!