10 steps to write the perfect elevator pitch

By Maria Onzain

June 29, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Having an elevator pitch ready is very critical not only for entrepreneurs but also for those looking to take the next step in their career. You never know when will you come across someone who could make a difference in your professional future, that’s why having your perfect elevator written and memorised is so necessary.

If you follow these easy 10 steps you will be in a position to write your own perfect elevator pitch to take advantage of the next career opportunity you come across.

1. Understand what is an elevator pitch

First of all, you need to understand what is an elevator pitch and when will you need one. The easiest way to understand the elevator pitch concept is imagining yourself in an elevator with someone you really admire. These may be a well-known entrepreneur or the CEO of the company that you’d love to work for. Your mission in the lift is to make a good impression and possibly a connection with this person by the time you arrive to the top floor, possibly no more than 30-60 seconds.

This is a fictional situation, quite unlikely to happen but there are a number of real situations when you will need to make use of your perfect elevator pitch: networking events, job interviews, when cold-calling a business prospect or dealing with busy people in general.

2. What do you do for a living?

The first question you need to answer in your pitch is ‘what do you do for a living?’ This is a very basic question that you need to address as clearly as possible. Some jobs are easier to describe than others so make sure you use a vocabulary that the general public will understand, even if they know nothing about your industry. A valuable tip is to stay away from jargon.

3. How do you help others?

Knowing what you do is great but it is more important that the listener understands how you can help him or the company he works for. To do this effectively you need to have a great understanding of the person and company you are talking to. This will vary depending on the interlocutor, so you need to be ready for a number of situations.

4. What makes you different?

Today’s market place is highly competitive so you need to explain how you will be adding value. This can be understood as your personal ‘unique selling proposition’ (USP). Explain what makes you special compare to other potential candidates.

5. Be concise and clear

You need to be brief and go straight to the point as your elevator pitch should not be longer than 60 seconds. Because you have no time to waste every single thing you say must be there for a reason and have a final purpose. Once you have written your pitch, read through it and remove those ideas that do not add any extra meaning to your speech.

6. Target your pitch

Your elevator pitch will vary if the person you are talking to is a company’s CEO or the head of HR so always try to walk in that person’s shoes and understand the needs they may have. Try to use an example of your own experience solving a problem they may have in their own company.

7. Be focused

You always need to have very clear in your mind what do you want to achieve with that conversation. Understanding your final objective will help you to be focused though the whole speech and to express information and ideas that will add value to your proposition.

8. Create a visual effect

The best pitches are those that can be visualised because they will always be easier to understand and specially to remember. To achieve this, you can tell your ideas as if you were telling a story, using words that evoke images and using connectors to link up each idea with the next one.

9. Hook your audience in

You don’t have much time to get the other person’s attention. A good tip to do this quickly is to prompt the other person to ask you questions and get the conversation going. You can use an anecdote or a humorous statement at the beginning of your pitch that you can answer straight away.

10. Remember the spotlight in on you

How you say it is as important as what you say. Use your body language and facial expressions to send powerful signals. Use an energetic voice to transmit your positive attitude. Always remember to smile and look at the other person in the eye, which communicates confidence.

Here is an extra tip to remember how to write your perfect elevator pitch: there should always be 4W’s and 1H in your elevator pitch. These are:
1. Who are you
2. What do you do
3. Where do you work
4. Why do they need to know this
5. How you are different from others

Maria Onzain

Content marketing and SEO freelancer. Lover of food and travel. Writing about entrepreneurship, startups, social media, eLearning and productivity.

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