The Elevator Pitch
Can you tell in 60 seconds what your company does and what is so special about it?
If you can answer this question with a yes, then you can formulate your elevator pitch already – everyone else should think about it (for more than just a minute). Important note: not only in writing, but also the oral presentation has to be spot on and believable, because otherwise nobody will pay attention. Try it out in front of a mirror.
What is so special about an elevator pitch and how can I structure it?
Mostly it is the first minute that someone needs to decide, if the other person is worth giving attention to. That doesn’t have to be only your boss in the elevator, but you will find yourself in many similar situations: at trade fairs, during a phonecall, a (personnel) interview or for any presentation. The first impression counts and can’t be relived.
- Formulate your offer/ idea clearly. Tell your counterpart what experiences you got regarding this matter and what specializes you for implementing this idea.
- What are the advantages you can give your counterpart, if he is willing to go with the idea? What is his added value?
- What is your motivation (the why!). Why should he invest time/ money in your idea any further or why should he hire you?
- What do you expect after this pitch from your counterpart? What kind of reaction? Tell him, otherwise it was all for nothing.
Take the AIDA-prinziple into account:
Attention, Interest, Desire and Action
You can’t write an elevator pitch in 60 seconds
Although you only have limited time to present your ideas, you formulating it will take more of your time. You have to minimize the important information and implement it into words in a demanding way. Take your time so your pitch can be powerful.
10 Tips for the perfect Elevator Pitch
1. Start with a Cliffhanger
Yes, movies use cliffhanger at the end of the movie to make sure you are hooked and want a second part. But you want that effect after the first sentence. You need a beginning, that sets fore to the thoughts of your counterpart. He has to be hooked as well. This can mean you have to start with a provocative statement.
2. The clock is ticking
You have 60 seconds. Dismiss all unnecessary information and get to the point. Summarize your idea or CV with the strongest arguments.
3. That certain something
What is so special about your offer, that no one else can bring to the table? What is your USP?
4. Know your enemy
Although your counterpart isn’t your enemy, that statement relates. You know your idea by heart, you don’t have to be the one that needs convincing (or else your idea isn’t worth pitching), but your counterpart is. You should know your audience beforehand and communicate in a way they will like it. That can entail that you have to prepare more than one elevator pitch – one for every different target group. Explain the added value for them individually. Never forget who you are trying to convince.
5. Don’t overdo the use of technical jargon
Your counterpart may be an expert in this matter, but he also has only 60 seconds to follow your explanation and to process the given information. He didn’t get the chance to prepare himself at home. Keep it simple and explain the problem (and solution). Don’t use too much technical jargon. The best thing you can do is try out your pitch on someone with no or little knowledge about the subject. If he understands it, you have found a good compromise.
6. Snap to attention!
Not only the content will determine the (successful) outcome of your pitch, but also the way of presenting it and yourself. If you are not enthusiastically or show any kind of doubt – why should your audience be? Show confidence.
7. Be yourself
Every pitch needs a personality – yours.
A strictly parrotlike phrase won’t convince anybody, no matter if it is perfectly formulated. You can learn it by heart, but the emphasis is on the heart.
8. Call to Action
If you don’t tell your counterpart what you are expecting of him, he can’t support you. Do you want an appointment to talk more about your idea? Tell him.
9. Visual support
If you part after the 60 seconds you need a way to stay present in the other’s head. Give him something visual (like a business card) to stay in contact. Or make another appointment on the sport (you should carry your agenda with you in that case).
10. Practice makes perfect
Start practicing! In front of a mirror or friends and family. Those are the cruelest and most honest judges you can find to give you pointers. You will have a first experience how your message is received.
Don’t deviate too much from your chosen information. If you alter the pitch spontaneously later, your thoughts will get mixed up and you will stutter. Keep that additional information in mind and use them for the questions that will follow your presentation. If you haven’t thought about it during writing your pitch, it can’t be that important in the first place.
If you follow these tips you will get a good first impression. That is what the elevator pitch is: the foot in the door.