An elevator pitch is a concise and compelling statement that describes what you do, who you are, and what value you bring to the table.
It’s called an elevator pitch because it should be short enough to deliver during a brief ride. Writing a great elevator pitch is essential for professionals and entrepreneurs who want to make a lasting impression in a short amount of time.
In this article, we’ll discuss the key elements of a successful elevator pitch and provide examples of some great ones.
We’ll also provide an elevator pitch template to help you craft your own, whether you’re looking for a job, pitching your business, or networking.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief, engaging speech used to spark interest in a company, a product, a person or an idea. Think of an elevator speech just as it’s name describes: If the big boss stepped onto the elevator and you had to give the perfect pitch in the seconds it takes to reach the next floor, what would you say?
Obviously, you don’t have time to go over many details in a short elevator ride, but you want to capture enough interest to score a coveted meeting and further discuss your ideas. You only have 20-30 seconds to make your case (and you want to speak slowly), so every word has to count.
Of course, a pitch doesn’t have to be relegated to an elevator. Professionals can have one ready for any opportunity that might arise, whether it’s introducing themselves at a job interview or at career fairs, bumping into a potential client at the airport or meeting an esteemed investor on the subway.
Why is an elevator pitch important?
These pitches are crucial because they serve as your first impression, effectively conveying your idea, product, or service to potential stakeholders or clients. They’re a concise, engaging tool to spark interest and initiate further conversation.
A well-crafted pitch can open doors to opportunities, build connections, and ultimately contribute to your personal or business growth.
How Long Should Elevator Pitches Be?
Many pitches are typically between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. However, the optimal duration depends on the listener’s attention span and the context in which the pitch is being delivered.
In general, aim for around 150 words to effectively communicate your message, while ensuring it’s concise, engaging, and memorable.
Focus on highlighting the most important aspects and unique selling points, as well as the potential benefits and impact for the listener.
Remember, the goal of an elevator pitch is to spark interest and initiate further conversation, so it’s crucial to leave your audience wanting to know more.
What Makes a Good Elevator Pitch?
Every elevator speech should be unique, but most have several attributes in common. More specifically, a good elevator pitch usually has the following qualities:
- Is under a half-minute long
- Gets people to remember you and your company
- Includes the most important basic details about your business
- Identifies your target audience
- Outlines a clear problem and solution
- Includes a clear call to action
- Leaves room for questions or conversation
What Not to Include in an Elevator Pitch?
Ensure that your pitch doesn’t include these common attributes of bad examples:
- Is overly vague
- Includes tons of industry jargon and buzzwords
- Is bland and unmemorable
- Takes a ton of time or drones on for minutes
- Isn’t well rehearsed and includes tons of “um”s or repetitive phrases
- Is too well rehearsed and leaves no room for customization
- Includes no opportunity for engagement or call to action
How to Write an Elevator Pitch
Here are some helpful steps for writing your pitch:
Step 1: Identify your objective
Determine the purpose of your pitch. Are you promoting a product, service, idea, or personal brand? Establish your end goal, be it securing a meeting, gaining a client, or forming a partnership.
Step 2: Define your target audience
Identify the individuals or organizations you want to address. Understand their needs, pain points, and interests to tailor your pitch accordingly.
Step 3: Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP)
Determine what sets you apart from competitors. Focus on one or two key features or aspects that make your offering unique and beneficial to your target audience.
Step 4: Explain the benefits
Clearly articulate the advantages your audience will gain from your product, service, or idea. Focus on the value and impact it can bring to them, addressing their specific needs.
Step 5: Create an engaging opening
Craft a captivating first sentence that grabs your audience’s attention. Use an intriguing fact, question, or statement to pique their interest.
Step 6: Keep it concise and clear
Write your pitch using simple, clear language, and avoid jargon. Aim for 150 words, which should be roughly 30 seconds to 2 minutes when spoken.
Step 7: Include a call-to-action (CTA)
Encourage your audience to take the next step. This could be scheduling a meeting, trying a product demo, or visiting your website for more information.
Step 8: Practice and refine
Rehearse your pitch to ensure smooth delivery and to identify areas for improvement. Adjust your pitch based on feedback and practice until you feel confident.
Step 9: Adapt to different contexts
Be prepared to modify your pitch based on the situation, listener, or time constraints. Have multiple versions ready for various scenarios.
Step 10: Deliver with confidence and enthusiasm
When presenting your pitch, be confident, enthusiastic, and authentic. Your passion and conviction can make a significant impact on your audience’s perception and interest in your offering.
Elevator Pitch Examples Elevator Pitch Examples
Elevator pitch examples come in a variety of forms. After all, you’re not going to use the same style pitch to try and score a job opportunity as you might employ to showcase a business concept. The following are six sample elevator pitches that can be used in business:
1. 30-Second Elevator Pitch Example
Think you can score a new job during an elevator ride? What about at a busy job fair? What is your verbal business card? The following is a standard, 30-second pitch for sales pitching and beyond:
“Hi, my name is Bob, and it’s nice to meet you. I’m a sales manager at Jim’s Garage, specializing in premium sales and service of pre-owned imported vehicles. I heard about the position you’re looking to fill, and I’d love the opportunity to put my expertise to work for your company. In my experience, increased sales are the result of better coordination and communication. That’s how my team has been No. 1 in the local market for the past three years. I’d love to set up a time when I could tell you more about how my experience can benefit your company.”
2. Elevator Pitch Example for Job Interviews
Want to score your dream career? HR managers are always looking for how to hire top talent. And first impressions can make the difference between job seekers’ propelling careers and dead-end ruts. What first impression do you make during a job interview? Crafting an effective elevator speech is an effective way to introduce yourself, serve as a sort of personality test for hiring, and make the powerful impression you hope to leave.
“Hi, I’m Ginger Neuman, and I’ve been enthralled by technology since I took apart my first computer in third grade. After earning my bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, I’ve spent the past four years working in IT for Bill’s Burgers, the No. 3 fast-food chain in the Springtown metropolitan area. I’ve successfully built workstations and managed computer equipment across 17 locations, preventing and resolving countless hardware-related issues, sharpening skills that I’d love to apply to the role with your company.”
3. Networking Events Elevator Pitch Example
At crowded networking events or job fairs, you only have a few seconds to make a lasting impression… and the competition to be noticed is stiff. Your networking event elevator pitch must be short, sweet and to the point.
“It’s nice to meet you. My name is Grace, and I represent Zeitgeist, Inc., where we boost efficiencies for companies in 42 states. I know my communication and organizational skills could benefit your company, so reach out if ever you find an opportunity that could benefit us both. I think we could take your revenue to the next level. Here’s my card, and I’ll keep your contact information, as well.”
4. Elevator Sales Pitch Example
While frequently used as a personal branding tool, the classic elevator can be one of the top ways to keep sales rolling, whether the item being sold is a product, a company or a person. There are many sales pitch examples for various industries, but this template can provide a solid start.
“Don’t you hate it when your shoes get covered in mud? I know no matter how carefully I tread, I can’t keep them clean on rainy days. Surely Shining Solution repels both liquids and solid debris from sticking to your shoes, no matter how much dirt and mud you find yourself walking through. For more than 10 years, our products have been used by farmers, truckers and even military organizations to keep their footwear spic and span through sleet, snow and floods. Thanks to our safe and industry-respected formula, you can spend less time wiping your feet and shining your shoes and more time doing what you love. Here’s my card, and let’s set up a time to further discuss how we can help keep your shoes surely shining every day.”
5. Elevator Pitch Example for Business Startup
If you found yourself on an elevator with your dream investor, and you knew you only had a few seconds to get them on board with your startup, what would you say? Whatever elevator speech you choose in the event you bump into business opportunities like Mark Cuban, you have to make an impact from the start and tell the person why they should care.
“How often do you lose your remote control? Does it get lost in the couch cushions, or kicked under the table? What’s worse than needing to pause or rewind that last play of the big game only for the remote control to be found nowhere? Our company, Sensor Sensations, developed a solution to ensure your remote control is always at your fingertips. Our RFID technology with synced app tracks your remote control much like you might track your child’s phone, but it pinpoints the location within inches. With the remote in hand, you’ll never miss another exciting moment of gameplay. Let’s set up a time to discuss how we can partner and take this product to the next level. “
6. Personal Elevator Pitch Example
How do you sum up your career in a 30-second elevator pitch example? Unlike a networking event, you’re not a face among a crowd of hundreds, and you have an opportunity to advertise yourself and be an authority in a powerful and memorable way. What do you say?
“Have you focused on building your e-commerce website and as a result seen your in-store presence lag behind? As a web designer of 12 years, I have helped small and large retail businesses operate their brick-and-mortar and online marketplaces with balance and harmony. With my experience and skill, I can create a professional image, manage online inventory and boost online conversions. In fact, my most recent client reported a 33% boost in online sales after I redesigned their landing pages… plus they now have the extra time needed to keep their physical store operating in an effective and efficient manner.”
Use These Elevator Pitch Templates to Get Started
We’ve created this template to help get your next pitch started.
[Opening Hook]: Start with a captivating statement, question, attention-grabbing statistic, or fact to capture the attention of your audience.
[Your Objective]: Briefly describe the purpose of your pitch (e.g., promoting a product, service, idea, or personal brand).
[Target Audience]: Identify who can benefit from your offering and why they should care.
[Unique Selling Proposition (USP)]: Highlight one or two key features or aspects that set your offering apart from competitors.
[Benefits]: Explain the specific advantages your target audience will gain from your offering, addressing their needs or pain points.
[Social Proof]: Optionally, mention any notable achievements, clients, or testimonials that demonstrate your credibility and success.
[Call-to-Action (CTA)]: Encourage the listener to take the next step (e.g., scheduling a meeting, trying a product demo, or visiting your website).
[Closure]: End with a memorable statement, expressing gratitude or reiterating your USP to leave a lasting impression.
Remember to keep your pitch concise (around 150 words), use clear language, and adapt it to different contexts as needed. Make eye contact with your audience whenever possible.
Tips on Writing an Amazing Elevator Pitch
Of course, not all elevator pitches are created equally. They can be phenomenal and effective, but they can also be abysmal failures. The following are a few tips that will help you to craft an effective elevator pitch:
- Specify your goals. Avoid a vague request to someday work together. Are you hoping for a certain job? Specify the position to which you aspire. Do you think a specific product could help the company? Be sure and tell them why. Are you looking for an investment? Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Write it down. It’s easier to organize your elevator pitch in writing than construct it in your head. By writing it down, you not only can closely examine and edit your words and structure, but the hard copy gives you the chance to practice your elevator speech until it’s perfect. Then, you even can edit it over time as you learn what is effective and what is not.
- Customize the pitch. Business professionals hear countless elevator pitches from employees and colleagues, and many of them can spot a generic, cookie-cutter speech from a mile away. Even if you’ve written the ultimate elevator speech, be sure and tailor it to each subject. What are their interests? How can your product benefit their specific circumstance? Why would you make idea partners in the business venture?
- Avoid industry jargon. The pitch needs to be as basic and easy to understand as possible. You don’t know the expertise and vocabulary of every person to whom you might present your elevator pitch. The last thing you want to do is make them feel unformed, uneducated or confused. Avoid using acronyms and other tech-speak that the average person might not understand when writing your own speech. When describing products and companies, be sure and use their full descriptive names.
- Practice. Your elevator pitch is your big shot. Walking in cold is among the top mistakes that hold back startup small business owners. Practice serves two key purposes when preparing an elevator pitch. First, practice what you’ve written to see how long your speech is. If it’s much more than 30 seconds, you’ll need to keep editing the content and reducing your word count. Once you’ve achieved the perfect length, you’ll want to continue to practice the pitch until you can sound natural, and you can present it confidently and by memory. Be sure and practice controlling your body language at the same time, avoiding distracting gestures and misleading facial expressions.
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