How good is your elevator pitch?

You are at a networking event and it comes time to stand up and introduce yourself to the interested onlookers. One after the other, the people before you bore the other meeting attendees silly with their dreary descriptions of their work.

Now it’s your turn, you’re either going to captivate them with a fascinating pitch that’s relatable and compels your audience to know more. Or, you’re going to bomb with a forgettable, boring, lackluster response that has them wishing you further!  The question is, when someone asks you to explain, ‘what do you do?’ how are you going to stand out?

There’s a lot of fuss about elevator pitches. I once attended a seminar on how to craft one and they taught us a 9-step model. Yep! 9 steps! This is quite seriously complete nonsense. It doesn’t have to be that complicated. In fact it shouldn’t be complicated or you’ll sound self-obsessed. It is important though.

Entrepreneurs who don’t have a good elevator pitch may struggle to capture people’s attention, which could result in a potential client missing out on the brilliant product or service you have to offer the world.

Intra-preneurs, (who work inside a business), your elevator pitch might mean the difference between meeting the right people or not, and getting that next perfect role or not.

Plus, in truth, it’s good discipline to be able to explain what you do quickly. It helps you get to the heart of what you do and why you do it.

What is an elevator pitch?

elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a short, clear, business pitch that can be delivered in the time it takes to catch the lift (elevator) from one floor to another. If you want to make the most of opportunities that come your way, you need to be prepared to give an impressive elevator pitch at any time, especially when attending networking events.

How do you deliver a good elevator pitch?

I’m going to suggest 2 different styles to you. The first style is very short. I call it the One-line Elevator Pitch. The other is longer, in case you have just a minute of extra time.  It’s called the 5-step pitch.

One-line Elevator Pitch

The One-line approach involves you explaining in just one sentence how you help people. You can start with, “I help people” then say what you achieve. Or you can start with your title and then further explain what that means by outlining how you help people. In Australia, it’s easier to do this one. You’re less likely to be thought of as a braggart. Here are some examples:

“I help people who feel trapped and unfulfilled in their corporate jobs, ditch the ladder, escape the 9 – 5 and live a life of purpose, success and abundance through running their own business.”

 “As a strategist, coach and speaker I bring clarity to complex situations, enabling difficult decisions to be made with confidence.” 

 “I’m a pitch coach, and I help people to communicate their ideas persuasively so they hear the word ‘yes’ more often.”

 “I’m an accountant with PWC, I specialize in corporate tax and I’m working on an interesting project at the moment with Rio Tinto helping them minimize their tax liability.”

The 5-step Pitch

The 5-step pitch is a simple way to plan out what you’d like to say. Here it is for you:

  1. Problem. “Many people find…..”
  2. Solution. “Imagine if…..”
  3. Target Audience. Explain who benefits from your product or service.
  4. Proof. List one or more clients who have reaped the rewards of your help.
  5. Statement of Fact. To ensure the audience is convinced.

For example:

“Have you ever felt like you were banging your head against a brink wall when trying to convince someone to say yes to your ideas? Imagine if you knew the formula that successful business presenters use to persuade people. I specialise in helping business people pitch their ideas so people listen, engage and say yes more quickly. Last year I helped 2 corporate clients win $500 million pitches. The reason we follow formulas is because they work.”

Here’s a slightly longer example:

“Most people fear speaking in public. In fact, you’ve probably heard that people fear public speaking more than death. Imagine if you could learn what awesome public speakers do to manage their nerves so that you could captivate an audience and never feel fearful when speaking in public again. I specialize in helping business people overcome their public speaking fears so they can communicate with confidence, clarity and influence every time. I’ve just helped an amazing girl called Amy. When Amy was only 10 years old, she was booed by her teacher and class whilst doing a speech in class. By the time she contacted me she was 32 years old and she had been terrified of public speaking ever since. She said she’d decided to overcome her fear, and had signed up to do a keynote speech at a conference of 120 people. Her brief to me was, “cure me.” No pressure! Amy learnt the 3 phases to a persuasive presentation in business and was told she was the best speaker at the event. She’s cured forever. Anyone can be a persuasive presenter, it’s just a matter of knowing what to do and doing it.

What should you consider?

    1. Speak clearly. Articulation is the clarity of your words. Aim for crisp, clean sounds. Warm up your lips, cheeks, teeth and tongue where possible.
    2. Don’t become a crazy card person, thrusting your business card at people who don’t want one!
    3. Be careful not to sound rehearsed. The key is to rehearse until it doesn’t sound rehearsed any more.
    4. Don’t brag. No one likes a braggart.
    5. Believe in yourself. You need to believe to your core that you have what this person needs. If you don’t have what this person needs, give a shorter answer and let them talk about themselves instead.

Why not plan out what you’ll say the next time you find yourself at a networking event and you’re asked to explain, ‘what do you do?’  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.  Happy presenting!

Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best selling internationally published author (Wiley), editor of How to Present magazine, producer of Michelle Bowden TV, and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. Sign up for Michelle’s FREE How to  Present magazine TODAY: https://michellebowden.com.au  

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