5 tips to develop an elevator pitch

Everyone has heard of an "elevator pitch", a brief but persuasive summary of a business or business idea, used to spark an initial interest in a product, service or concept. Like its namesake, a good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride, approximately twenty seconds to two minutes, although the location of the pitch can take place anywhere. The following five simple techniques will successfully assist you in creating an elevator pitch.

Identify your goal

According to internet marketing business Design Damage, you should have a single, clear-cut objective in mind - what do you want to achieve and what is your desired outcome? Do you want to convince a potential investor to fund a new product line? Do you want to headhunt a new employee, or perhaps you want to win new business? 

Explain your idea

Start your pitch by describing what your idea or product. Focus on the problems that you solve and how you help people. Ideally, you should add information or a statistic that shows the value of what you can offer. Avoid technical jargon easy to eliminate confusion. Bear in mind that your pitch should be exciting and interesting. People may not remember everything that you say, but they will likely remember your enthusiasm.

Communicate your USP

Your elevator pitch also needs to communicate your unique selling proposition (USP). To grab the attention of your investors, identify what makes your idea or product unique. Microsoft Business writer, Steve Strauss, emphasises the importance of a 'hook' to intrigue the listener and acts as an ice breaker and marketing pitch in one.

For instance, "I own a flower shop in the city" doesn't compare to "I'm a specialty florist who deals in rare South American tropical flowers".

If talking to an investor, bear in mind that they will want to see a return on their money, so your pitch needs to tell them that your idea or product will make money and how it can do so.

Engage your audience

After you communicate your USP, you need to engage your audience. To do this, prepare open-ended questions (questions that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no" answer) to involve them in the conversation. Most importantly, make sure that you're able to answer any questions if your listener has any.

Practice makes perfect

When you've completed each section of your pitch, tie it all together into a short paragraph. Harvard Business School offers a useful elevator pitch builder that can be found here. Once you've got your pitch together, read it out loud and time yourself - exceed the two minutes and you may risk losing the listener's interest. All the pieces of your pitch should fit together logically and succinctly. Remember, your pitch needs to be snappy and compelling, so the shorter it is, the better!

Body language is also an important factor as it conveys just as much information to the listener as your words do. Practice in front of a mirror or with someone until the pitch feels natural. As you get accustomed to delivering your pitch, it is fine to vary it a little to avoid sounding too formulaic.

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