An elevator pitch is a unique presentation form that is used to persuade an audience to take a specific action. It is concise, conversational, and unforgettable. The idea behind the term is that you should be able to present a clear idea or pitch within the length of time it takes to travel in an elevator. Ready, set, go.
Knowing how to present a meaningful elevator pitch is a crucial skill in the business world. The way your pitch is received could make or break the message that you want to deliver. The following suggestions can apply to any situation where you would be presenting information. Whether you work in sales, management or marketing in any industry, having the ability to pitch an idea succinctly and effectively will get you far.
In this post we’ve broken down the elevator pitch into three phases: Planning, presenting, and practicing. By focusing on each of these presentation phases you’ll be able to develop a well-rounded pitch that is sure to be memorable!
Planning your pitch prior to presenting not only allows for you to be and appear more comfortable, but also ensures that you’re getting the information that you need to convey. Just like a solid business plan or sales proposal, having a great sense of direction for your elevator pitch can put you one step ahead.
Understand Your Audience
Having a clear understanding of your audience is crucial when developing a presentation. Knowing what language to use and having the proper tone of voice can make or break how people receive the message you’re providing. Doing background research of who you’re talking to will help you know whether to keep your pitch casual or opt for a more formal approach.
Always consider how your audience will react. Will some light humor reach them better? Or maybe numbers and statistics will make more of an impact?
Have a Clear Objective
Before you even begin designing the pitch make sure you know what your main objective is. Are you requesting funding? Are you trying to get a client to book with you? Decide early so that you can clearly ask for what you need..
It’s important to have that objective be very concise and clear. It’s best to have one clear request, rather than trying to fit too many ideas into your pitch. This will help the presentation from wandering off topic and overwhelming your audience, or worse, causing confusion. The message your audience leaves with should be the message you intended!
Know Your Presentation Inside and Out
Be educated on what you’re discussing and stay flexible. Elevator pitches could happen at anytime anywhere. Prioritize your information and know your subject. You should never recite words right off a page, instead train yourself to be capable of discussing your pitch. This will exude confidence and prove that you know what you’re talking about. If you come across as awkward, unprepared or nervous, this may be misconstrued as unprofessional or amateur. A confident speaker breeds a comfortable and more-receptive audience.
Dare to Make It Personal
Somewhere within your pitch, be sure to add a personal component. You can do this be including a personal anecdote, relating a personal story, or just allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable to your audience. This is not easy to do! The best way to be relaxed, personal and emotional in a pitch environment is to practice, practice, practice. The more time you spend with the material, the less you have to worry about WHAT you will say, so you can relax and focus on the HOW and WHY of your pitch. Enthusiasm and inspiration are contagious!
Having a visual component in your pitch will allow you to reserve a spot in your audience’s memory. This can be the item you’re selling, a prop, or a keynote. It can even be a hand gesture or a sound! Nancy Duarte calls these S.T.A.R. moments (Something They’ll Always Remember).
Want to give your audience something to play with? Try featuring your service or product using TrueTour®, and enjoy how easy it is to create the Wow Factor. You can even easily pull up your TrueTour on your mobile device (just in case your pitch takes place on an actual elevator or on the go).
During presentations providing hard data and facts can help your case tremendously. It gives your audience an idea of the proposal’s direction and how it can affect them. Make sure to also be able to support any ideas with statistics if questions come up!
Engage with the Audience
Give your audience your full attention so that they will give it back. You can do this by simply making eye contact, asking questions, or having them interact with an element in the presentation. Avoid boring them and keep them listening. Remember, your audience is the hero, not you.
Stay True to your Brand
This is a great tip for anywhere your brand is represented and definitely one to keep in mind when creating your elevator pitch. This can mean much more than simply arranging the design components to follow your branding guidelines. It also refers to how you communicate your points and engage with people. Use this as a way to show off your company’s personality and culture.
Don’t forget to Present Yourself
This will entirely depend on the situation, but always remember to present yourself appropriately, including how you are dressed and your brand-appropriate tone of voice and language. Use your best judgement here. If you’re not sure, it’s always safe to dress semi or business formal for a scheduled meeting.
We mentioned this briefly above, but this is so important, it warrants repeating! As with anything in life, you only get better with practice! Even if you’re extremely skilled at “winging it,” it never hurts to review your presentation ahead of time. The practice phase is one that should always be ongoing as well. Always seek out ways that you can improve and try to stay present in what’s currently happening in the world.
Practice your speech to yourself a few times, especially out loud so you can get the hang of your tone and flow. Try not to memorize it word by word because you might get caught off guard and you could easily find yourself flustered or struggling to get back on track.
Ask for Constructive Criticism
Present in front of colleagues or family. By practicing in front of someone you’re comfortable with, you can ease into it and they can offer constructive criticism that you might not have caught yourself.
Be Prepared for Questions
Create a list of possible questions that could arise from your audience and prepare your answers. A good way to do this is to review your pitch outline and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. You can also gently spin answers into messages you control, when you are well-prepared with potential talking points and follow-up questions.
For a bit of elevator pitch inspiration we’ve embedded this episode from “Get Off The Couch” by theSkimm. We love how each episode surprises the presenters and keeps them on their toes! Do you think you would be able to deliver your elevator pitch to theSkimm?
We hope our suggestions offer you a good foundation to design your elevator pitch. Do you have any additional tips that have made a positive impact on the way you present content? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!