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It’s Time to Change Up Your Elevator Pitch

January 14, 2015 / Blog, Lessons, Presentation Science, Rick Enrico Blog elevator pitch, presentation tips, storytelling

When was the last time you delivered an elevator pitch? Did it help you achieve the outcome you were hoping for?

The elevator pitch is a concept that you’re probably already familiar with. In fact, you’ve likely crafted dozens of different versions in the years you’ve spent as a business professional.

The idea of an elevator pitch is to make the most of unexpected opportunities. You never know when the chance to reach out to prospects and pitch your new idea arises. If your elevator pitch is redundant and unremarkable, you can easily lose the opportunity to take your idea to the next level.

So, has your elevator pitch been working lately? If you’re feeling a little rusty, maybe it’s time to brush off the dust.

Here are our quick thoughts on how you can improve your elevator pitch:

It’s all about focusing on the main idea 

An elevator pitch has two characteristics:

First, it must be short enough to be delivered in a few minutes. Second, it must also be persuasive. Basically, your goal is to spark the interest of your listener in as little time as possible.

You’re not talking to get an immediate “yes”. Your elevator pitch is a quick introduction to your ideas for an opportunity to go further into details. What truly matters at this point is to get straight to the point and highlight the main idea.

To do that, focus on selling your story. That story should zero in on the main idea or the core message. Don’t spend too much time trying to explain details that may derail your conversation. Remember, because you only have a few minutes, focus on big moments.

By that, we mean getting to answer three crucial questions:

  • What do you do?
  • Why is it important?
  • How are you different from others?

Think of your elevator pitch as a movie trailer

In order to achieve the two characteristics of an elevator pitch, take some pointers from movie trailers. In an interview with Co.Create, Buddha Jones production house partner, John Long, imparts nine of the essential storytelling tips used in movie trailers.

A trailer is basically a synopsis of a movie. To urge viewers to watch a new release, editors condense a film to a sequence of clips that reveal basic facts about the movie’s narrative. Potential viewers are told what the story is about, who the characters are, and what potential problems they’ll face.

However, they also leave room for curiosity. By keeping the preview within certain boundaries, trailers urge the audience to seek out the answers to “what happens next?” and “how will this end?”

Similar to that, an elevator pitch is the synopsis of a longer and more complete presentation. While a traditional pitch might require you to give details about your business and activities, an elevator pitch is supposed to leave room for further questions.

As we mentioned earlier, you’re not trying to seal the deal here. What you’re trying to achieve is a better chance to converse and convince your prospect. Leave out the heavier details in your elevator pitch and focus on the premise instead.


All in all, the way to a better elevator pitch is to get a handle on the bare bones of your presentation. Go back to the most fundamental details of your pitch and make sure they stand out.

This isn’t about bombarding the audience with well-researched facts and data. An elevator pitch is about getting to the heart of the matter.

Get started on changing up your elevator pitch. Who knows? You might take the elevator with someone that could be your biggest client or investor yet. Don’t miss out on a perfectly great opportunity.



Hart, Hugh. “9 (Short) Storytelling Tips From A Master Of Movie Trailers.” Co.Create. May 29, 2014. Accessed January 14, 2015.
Steps to Mastering a Killer Elevator Pitch | SlideGenius.” SlideGenius, Inc.. June 10, 2014. Accessed January 14, 2015.


Featured Image: Thomas R. Stegelmann via Flickr