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It’s Time to Change Up Your Elevator Pitch

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

References

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

4 Steps to Mastering the Elevator Pitch

The idea behind the elevator pitch is said to have originated from businessmen who needed to pitch proposals to prospective investors as quickly as possible.

Incidentally, it also gives the investors a chance to turn down ideas promptly (especially those that are not that good or do not match their investment profile). The fast paced delivery indeed works well for both parties. If you have a plan to acquire funds from a potential investor, mastering the art of the elevator pitch will definitely work to your advantage.

In his Forbes article, Rick Frasch already provides the eight mistakes entrepreneurs need to avoid in their elevator pitch. Now here are four tips from us on how to get it right:

1. Establish your story

Set aside a time to write your story, preferably without interruptions. When you write, visualize that you’re telling the story to a family member or a close friend. This can help you put your mind at ease.

Write anything relevant to your ideas. Don’t forget to silence your inner critic and not edit just yet.

2. Let it sit for some time

Once you are done with your pitch’s rough draft, go and do something else. You may want to go for a walk or drive around the neighborhood.

The idea is to let the story sit for a day or two so you’ll have a fresh perspective when you read and work on it again.

3. Polish your hook

Start editing down your story to its barest essential. Your goal is to craft a killer 60-second elevator pitch. While you’re at it, think about adding a good hook.

The hook is the part that will let you jumpstart your pitch. It should be about 15 seconds long. This is important because those 15 seconds are your only chance to convince your prospect to listen to the rest of the pitch.

Add an element of curiosity to your hook. You may choose to start with engaging phrases such as “What if…” or “Picture this…” At this point, you should have you prospect intrigued.

4. Explain what’s in it for them

Now that you have the attention of your prospective investor, it’s time to key in on engaging the audience. Persuade your listeners into actually investing by explaining how your idea can bring in profits. P

Prove that there’s a market for it and that your solution is something that customers would be willing to pay for. Close your pitch by creating a sense of urgency.

Whether your product is only available during the Holidays or you’re racing with a rival in filing a patent, use urgency to motivate, not force people to invest.

The Final Word

Spend enough time practicing your pitch. Time yourself as your practice. Make sure that you can say whatever you need to say within the 60-second limit.

The key to a great elevator pitch is not just to pitch in a rapid-fire approach. Even if you can’t deliver a mile a minute speech, you would still be able to impress your audience.

And most importantly, memorize your lines. If you’re using a PowerPoint presentation, do not read from the slides. Investors can sense if you’re not ready and just winging it, so practice extensively to perfect that pitch.

 

Reference

Frasch, Rick. “8 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching To Investors.” Forbes. Accessed June 10, 2014.

Three Mistakes to Avoid in Making Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short but persuasive speech that aims to spark interest in what your business does. It is also used to generate interest in a particular project, concept, or product. Ideally, an elevator pitch shouldn’t last longer than a short elevator ride (about 30-45 seconds).

With that very small window of opportunity, it may seem hard to get a pitch right. There are several ways Entrepreneur contributor Dwight Peters provides on perfecting an elevator pitch. It would also help, however, to be aware of the most common elevator pitch mistakes.

Apart from avoiding such mistakes, you’d be able to project a more confident front once you finally make your pitch. So, let’s get started with these three mistakes:

Focusing on Yourself

While your professional success can be a good thing, talking about it for too long would only alienate your audience. It will make you sound like an arrogant know-it-all who believes he’s better than them.

Don’t lose sight of your main goal, which is to establish a connection with your listeners. Remember that like any human being, they’re mostly interested in how you can help them, not amaze them with your numerous credentials. You can establish this much-needed connection by linking what you do with an existing need or problem. A good problem slide can help you explain this part.

When you explain to your audience what it is that you do, do not be too general in your approach. It is best to be specific. It will make your elevator pitch as relevant as possible.

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Using Technical Lingo

In making your pitch relevant, see to it that you avoid jargons and buzzwords that only you or someone in your industry understands. Otherwise, you will only succeed in creating a communication gap between you and your audience. As a result, you will lose their attention quickly.

Remember, the goal of the elevator pitch is not to show how extensive your vocabulary is. Using words a potential investor or customer don’t understand will not impress them. It will only backfire on you.

Bragging about Your Company

Similar to talking too much about yourself, people aren’t that interested in hearing you brag about your company. While presenting your product or service’s unique features may be essential in highlighting your advantage over the competition, your audience won’t speculate on the process you use to get results.

Ultimately, the only thing that matters to them is what’s in it for them. So focus more on explaining the benefits that you offer, not on your process of doing things.

With these things out in the open, you can now focus better on the right steps to take. Keep in mind, though, that there are still some challenges that you might encounter. But as long as you position your business as the one who can provide the best solution to a pressing need, you are off to a good start.
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Reference

Peters, Dwight. “6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch.” Entrepreneur. August 27, 2013. Accessed May 22, 2014.

Oscar Speech Sounds A Lot Like…..

Cue the famed actresses in overly expensive ball gowns. Cue the undeniably sarcastic and quirky host. Cue the applauses. It’s awards season in Hollywood.

The most prestigious, of the film awards, is of course the much anticipated Oscars. Every year The Academy nominates a few fortunate actors and actresses who are praised for their works in major motion pictures. It is a special award that every actor dreams of receiving. Only a few, however, are lucky enough to actually walk on stage and accept the gold statue themselves. After the nerve-wracking tearing of the envelope the winners are then presented on stage to deliver a speech. This speech defines their Oscar moments even as it is only done in less than two minutes.

So what can we compare an Oscar speech to?

 

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An Elevator Pitch

Short. Simple. Sweet. And most of all, straight to the point. An elevator pitch presents a product or service in as less time as possible – usually under two minutes.

An Oscar speech follows the similar concept. It delivered quickly, with the winner wrapping up his speech of gratitude and thanks in a very small amount of time. There are a few similar adjectives that we can use to compare a successful elevator pitch (which is usually paired with a PowerPoint presentation and a well rounded Oscar speech:

1. Short

An elevator pitch, just like an Oscar speech, should be between 30 seconds to two minutes. You should impose a strict time limit to your pitches. Drawing out your pitch will make your audience become disinterested in your points and, worse, stop paying attention.

As much as possible, get your points across swiftly and avoid using fillers. Condense your content into the simplest form possible within your pitch. Your goal is to allow audience to understand and learn.

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2. Memorable

Like many elevator pitches that investors and or potential clients hear daily, there are dozens of Oscar speeches going on throughout the night of the Academy Awards. A good pitch is one that is unique and becomes memorable over the other various pitches, one that stands out.

If your idea gets lost in a blur with the rest, it wasn’t a very successful one. You always remember the most unique speech of the night when you watch The Academy Awards. The same can be said for the most unique and successful pitch.

 85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

3. Passionate

An effective acceptance speech is one that is delivered with passion and pride. It simply draws you in. You can apply the same principles to an elevator pitch.

While a well-rounded Oscar speech ends with a riveting and memorable closing line, your pitch should end with a passionate power statement. When delivering a pitch, you want to present yourself to your audience as being as credible as possible. You can earn your credibility by pitching with plenty of passion.

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References

Argetsinger, Amy. “Nine Oscar Speeches That Changed the World.” Washington Post. February 22, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2014.
Ums, Likes and You Knows: Avoiding Fillers in Your Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 21, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2014.