What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short, prepared speech that tells the other person who you are and what you do.
Of course, you’re not going to be able to fit everything into it, as elevator pitches are generally only around 30 seconds long.
It’s something that piques the interest of the other party and makes them want to know more about you.
Everyone should have an elevator pitch
It’s about telling others who you are and what you do in a way that makes people curious about whether partnering with you in some way will benefit them.
For business owners and entrepreneurs, it can paint a picture of your company and what you have to offer.
Creating your elevator pitch
Creating your elevator pitch may seem like an overwhelming task.
Although it’s important to take some time and think about exactly what points you’d like to ensure the other person hears, you can follow these steps and be well on your way to writing your elevator pitch.
1. Consider your ultimate goal
Your elevator pitch may have the same components as someone else’s, but since your goal is different, your information will be different.
Are you looking to hire someone with a specific skillset? Are you looking to introduce your business and what you have to offer?
Think for a moment about your ultimate goal. Then, put yourself into the shoes of the other person. What would get you interested in you? Ultimately, even though the elevator pitch introduces you and what you have to offer, it’s actually about the other party.
2. Describe what you do
If you’re a writer, you may be thinking of just saying, 'I’m a writer'.
The issue with that is, as you know, there are many types of writers and there are many people who will respond back with, 'So, where’s your novel and why haven’t I heard of you?'. Try to branch out and truly define what you do as a writer.
If you’re a content writer for corporations, you could say, 'I provide valuable and engaging SEO-driven content for businesses in the (name) industry'.
Businesses looking to hire an employee need to both gain the interest of the potential candidate and make it easy for them to engage.
If you’re a recruiting manager you could say, 'I’m a recruiting manager for (company name). My main goal is to identify potential candidates who would be happy working with us.”
Although it may not sound glamorous, that statement shows your interest in the other party and their happiness. It shows that you are with a business that cares about its employees. Employees want to feel valued, appreciated, and that they matter.
If you’re in business, think about how you can explain what you do in a way that will tell the other person what you can do for their business. Think back to the example above about the writer.
Companies online want website visitors. They want people reading, sharing, and interacting with their content. SEO content is a big part of that, but beyond that, the writing must be something that the audience wants to share. It must be engaging.
Engaging content means more visitors. That sample sentence explains what the writer does and how it can help the other person.
3. Address a pain point
In business, a pain point is an area that either isn’t profitable or is otherwise some sort of a problem. Regardless of the ultimate goal for your elevator pitch, you should address a pain point for the other party.
Employers, what do you provide your employees that similar companies don’t? Do you have a mission statement that your employees can identify with and support? What do you offer that makes your business a great place to work?
Entrepreneurs, you’re not the only person that does what you do. So what makes you unique? Why are you better positioned to provide service?
It’s extremely important that you’re able to identify and capitalise on what makes you a better choice. Remember, it’s not always about the cost of what you provide.
Think more in the terms of the way you approach or deliver your solutions and the overall value that you provide.
4. Write it out and practise
Practice makes perfect – just ask any professional athlete. This is why you need to write out your elevator pitch and spend time practising it.
When you read it out loud, think about the words that you use. Is there a better word choice? Is there something else you really want to add? Does it sound natural? Is it less than 30 seconds long?
Remember, the more you practice, the more natural you’ll sound when you repeat it. It’s important that you don’t sound like you’re reading from a cue card.
Take out any jargon that pertains to what you do. This isn’t about trying to sound smarter than anyone else, it’s about making sure people understand what you have to offer. The best way to do that is to use words that can be easily understood. Don’t make the other person feel stupid.
5. Get feedback
It’s important that you get feedback on your elevator pitch.
You may think it sounds amazing, but does it really?
Give your elevator pitch to trusted friends and colleagues who can give you honest, constructive feedback.
6. Write more than one
Writing more than one elevator speech can prepare you to encounter different types of people and still manage to get the right point across.
It’s important that you tailor your elevator pitches, because you wouldn’t talk to a recruiter in the same way that you’d talk to a CEO who may need your services.
Get out there!
An elevator pitch does you no good if you don’t use it. After you’ve practised, get out there and use it!
Robin Bull works for US-based FormSwift, a SaaS business that allows for digital documents, PDF editing, and electronic signing of forms.