What’s An Elevator Pitch?
Before you learn how to give an elevator pitch it is important to understand what it is and why it is valuable.
An elevator pitch is a short description of an idea, product, company, or profession. The idea behind an elevator pitch is that you can say it in 15-20 seconds – the general length of an elevator ride. The pitch should be concise and easily understandable to the person with whom you are speaking with.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed author, keynote speaker, leadership expert, and fellow LinkedIn Learning instructor, Dr. Todd Dewett.
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Giving An Elevator Pitch
If you’ve ever been to a networking event, chances are you’ve heard several elevator pitches. But even C-suite executives need help with their pitch.
The Elevator pitch is the highlights without bragging. – Dr. Todd Dewett
So, why are elevator pitches important? The reason an elevator pitch is important is that it should spark interest in the idea, product, company, or person. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica related an elevator pitch to that of a movie trailer. It should be short, yet exciting. The trailer makes you want to see the whole movie. In the same way, your pitch should make people want to learn more about you.
In our e-course, The Art Of Communication, you will learn how to execute your speaking and interpersonal communications at your highest level. This course can help you understand how to write an effective elevator pitch that you feel confident giving to anyone you meet.
1. Be Concise
Your pitch needs to be concise. You need to be able to speak about who you are and what you do in 15-20 seconds. This may not seem like enough time to talk about everything, but the truth is, if you try to tell your entire story, your audience will lose interest. The last thing you want is for someone to hope you will stop speaking.
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Dr. Dewett shared 3 ways to keep your elevator pitch concise.
Less is more – The concept less is more means it is not necessary to include everything. You don’t need 3 minutes to make an impact. Sometimes fewer words that are carefully chosen will be more memorable than a lengthy speech.
High level is better than detail – When crafting your pitch, it is important to remember to include more overarching ideas rather than multiple details. What you do or what you are working on may be overly complicated for a 15-20 second pitch. In order to stay concise, drop the technical details and focus on the bigger picture. The details can come later.
A summary is better than overly specific – Perhaps you are creating a pitch for a product you have developed. Instead of being overly specific with the mechanics, stick to a one-sentence description of what it does. For example, if you developed an app that can find discounts on shopping websites, it is best to say just that. Avoid explaining how the app works in your pitch. Keep the how for any follow-up questions the person may have.
💡We recommend the e-course “Giving Your Elevator Pitch” to help you write a powerful elevator pitch.
2. Be Relaxed
Giving your elevator pitch can be scary. You only have 15-20 seconds to make an impact. And you want the other person to be interested in what you have to say. So how do you keep yourself relaxed?
Dr. Dewett and Jessica shared tips on how to do just that.
- Get feedback – Dr. Dewett emphasized the importance of getting feedback from your colleagues. Share your pitch with your colleagues and see what they have to say. Ask them to be very honest with you. It can be difficult to hear critiques when you’ve worked so hard on something. However, knowing that your pitch is strong will make you more relaxed when you speak to someone.
- Be prepared – Truly, preparation is the key to success in almost every aspect of business and life! The more you’ve practiced your elevator pitch the more easily you will be able to deliver it.
- No Rambling – Because your pitch is only 15-20 seconds you should be able to say it without any rambling or fumbling. This includes adding any additional ums, ahs, or other unimportant transitions.
- Be clear – Say what you need to say and nothing more. The more clear your pitch is the more relaxed you will be when giving it.
- Be brief – Again, the elevator pitch has to be brief! As stated above, a concise pitch is effective.
If you are relaxed, you’ll make the person listening to you feel more comfortable. The more comfortable someone feels around you the more they will engage. They’ll likely ask you more questions and you’ll have an opportunity to ask about them. That’s how connection and rapport happen. And that’s where new connections begin. And what is more important to a career than new connections?
Perhaps writing your elevator pitch is your strong suit, but giving it isn’t. In our e-course, Written Communicator to Powerful Speaker, you will learn how to translate your written communications strengths into elevated speaking.
3. Don’t Fall Into Common Traps
There are a few common elevator pitch traps that you will want to avoid. The first is including an “ask” in your pitch. Depending on who you are speaking with, you may want to ask right off the bat if they are hiring. Or you will want to ask if they’d like to invest. Don’t present your ask in the first few seconds. The ask can come later.
The purpose of your pitch is to establish rapport and make a connection. It is never to make an ask.
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica talked about another trap which is being too transactional in your pitch. This means that you are focused too heavily on what your pitch can do for you and less on how your pitch can help engage with others. Your focus is on making a connection, not what you can gain immediately.
During the live Jessica also pointed out another trap that she sees while working with Soulcast Media Members, and that is reading off your resume.
She said that your elevator pitch should not be your resume. For example, there is no need to include where you went to college, the last three jobs you held, etc.
Remember, your elevator pitch is more about establishing a connection that showcases why you are interesting, rather than trying to get a new job or an investor. Those things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but the elevator pitch isn’t the place for them.
When you begin writing your elevator pitch, keep in mind that it should be concise and clear. Try to be as relaxed as possible. And remember, it is all about making that personal connection.
If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Dr. Todd Dewett’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
Do you want to learn how to write a powerful elevator pitch? Join our private communications group where you can work with our Soulcast Media team on your communications every month!
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