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How to Craft a Compelling Elevator Pitch

Kim Brebach - Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Why your elevator pitch needs to be short tight and simple

A recipe with 8 essential ingredients. 

The concept of the 
Elevator Pitch comes from Hollywood, where aspiring scriptwriters would jump into the elevator with a producer and pitch their new script idea in the time it took for the elevator to reach the penthouse suite. If you think that’s a tough task, MGM boss Louis B. Mayer used to ask scriptwriters to write their synopsis on the back of his business cards. By comparison, the 30-45 seconds you have in an elevator seem luxurious.

Learning to speak about your business to others with passion and conviction is crucial to your success. Learning to sum up the unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others is an essential skill for CEOs, business owners, sales people, marketing people, Public relations and investor relations people and more. Here are the 8 essentials:

Purpose of an elevator pitch

As a rule, it is to open the door to an opportunity. It’s a one-shot chance to present yourself and your company or idea in a way that makes the other party want to find out more about you and what you can do for them.

An Elevator Pitch is not a sales pitch

It’s tough to get a sale in such a short time, so your pitch should focus on introducing your idea or service or product. The objective is to get a smaller commitment – an agreement to a meeting or presentation, for example, or a to receive a proposal. State clearly what you want the other party to do next.

Do your homework

A well-targeted elevator pitch has the best chance of achieving your objective, so try to identify your target’s likely pains. Your elevator pitch should address these as directly as possible. Focus on the ‘why’ or ‘how’ and not the ‘what’. Put yourself in the other party’s shoes and ask: WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?

Keep it simple

Remember the three Cs: Clear, Concise, Compelling. Use short sentences and simple words, and avoid jargon. Big words take more time and are harder to understand. During an elevator pitch, you don’t have time to explain details. Read more here: 3  Lessons in Crisp Writing from Twitter.

Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet

An elevator pitch is not the time to be modest. It’s OK to blow your own trumpet (or your company’s), but avoid idle boasts about being the leading company or the biggest operator in this market.

Practice your pitching

A good way to do this is to use a video camera. Practice until the delivery flows at the right tempo, or until you’re happy with the result.

Pitching to different audiences

There are many occasions where it helps to have a snappy elevator pitch ready:

  • An unexpected meeting with a potential prospect or investor
  • An event where you’re asked to introduce yourself and/or your company
  • When mingling with people during cocktails at a conference

It pays to have several versions of your elevator pitch ready for different occasions.

Keep it Fresh

Refine your elevator pitch as you and your business grow and/or change. Keep your pitch fresh and up-to-date, because that will make it easier to retain the passion you need to deliver it with conviction.


Kim Brebach
Content Chief

I've always loved people and words. As long as I can remember, I've been a story-teller and the team here says I'm pretty good at it. That's probably why I head up the Content Team: I create the arc of the story and others add their magic. 

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