Whether introducing yourself at a networking event or telling prospective clients about your business, you want to get attention fast.
That’s why companies must come equipped with compelling elevator pitches.
This guide explains everything you need to know to create a pitch that grabs attention and cultivates more networking opportunities.
Also referred to as an elevator speech, it’s a brief and memorable description of who you are and what you do. The goal is to keep a conversation going or earn an opportunity for a second one — not to get a sale on the spot. It’s called an elevator pitch because it’s meant to be delivered in about the same amount of time you’d spend with someone taking the elevator from one floor to the next (pretty quick, right?).
The biggest mistake people make when crafting elevator speeches is to view them as an opportunity to close a deal. Taking that approach often makes them too complex for people unfamiliar with your organization to understand. Instead, it’s better to consider an elevator pitch as an opportunity to earn your prospect's attention and time. It's a speedy yet attention-grabbing and memorable introduction to you, your business, and how you can help the person you’re delivering it to.
Elevator speeches are great to use at networking events and conferences and on phone calls.
To get attention in busy or competitive situations, make your elevator pitch goal-oriented. (For example, “My business helps companies like yours increase productivity by 25 percent while cutting costs by the same percentage.”).
A pitch must be clear and concise and communicate essential information in even the most challenging environment. Never waste anyone’s time. It could result in a negative perception of your brand.
Tip: Always end your pitch by delivering a business card or asking to connect on LinkedIn.
How Long Is an Effective Elevator Speech?
As mentioned earlier, an elevator pitch should be no longer than a typical elevator ride — approximately 30 seconds.
Use words that are easy to say and take in. Avoid getting too deep into specifics or complexities as it can slow and confuse the conversation (and lose your prospect's attention).
Have an effective elevator pitch ready before you need one. It’s nearly impossible to come up with a good one on the fly.
How to Craft a Great Elevator Pitch
Follow these steps to develop an effective elevator speech.
1. Introduce Yourself
Start by introducing yourself to whoever you're talking to. Come up with a sentence that reveals something personal and explains your role at the company (e.g., "I'm a mother of three and a sales rep at Des Moines Credit Union.”). This will help humanize you and provide context.
Don’t make the common mistake of talking too much about yourself. It’s more important to pass on information about what you do and the value it delivers rather than who you are. That can come later.
2. State Your Business’s Mission
Clearly and concisely explain what your company does. Include its mission and reasons for selling its products or services. Briefly yet completely introduce your company. If you find this challenging, it could be time to review your organization’s mission, vision, and reason for being.
This part of the speech should quickly describe what the company does, without getting too deep into the weeds. If you are interrupted before completing your speech, the person you’re talking to will still come away knowing who you are and what your company does.
3. Explain the Value Your Business Delivers
Review your value proposition or figure out what your company does exceptionally well that sets it apart from competitors. Use the proposition or competitive differentiator to write a one- or two-sentence statement about the value the products or services your business offers deliver to customers.
4. Grab Attention With a Hook
Pull in the people you’re talking to with a compelling customer story or one about the company. Or, share an interesting fact or statistic about the organization. A memorable hook helps people engage with your words and keeps you top of mind after the pitch.
5. Read and Edit the Pitch
Read your pitch out loud. Make sure it comes across as natural and conversational. This will keep your audience interested and eager to continue the conversation. Try your speech out with current customers and people who don’t know about your business to ensure it communicates what you intend.
Be aware: An elevator speech isn’t once-and-done. If your business grows or changes, it could make sense to revisit it to ensure it is current.
Improve your communication skills even more by learning how to create great interview videos.
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