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Elevator pitch

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of

An elevator pitch is the brief summary or pitch relating to your organization, your product or yourself that can be made in about 30 seconds, ie the time it takes to ride in the typical elevator and tell someone your story.

Elevator pitches are valuable to senior executives to use in business and sales presentations, speeches and interviews. They are also valuable to you to interest someone important to you.

For many people, a good elevator pitch is more important to their career than a business plan or document.

Aim at about 60 words maximum. People generally talk at about 120 words per minute, and therefore the ideal elevator pitch will last around half a minute.

You can also use this technique in an email. Keep it to a maximum of about 100 words. Many people don’t get to the point quickly in an email. Practice your media pitches in this way. You are likely to score more successes as a result.

As time is so scarce for senior executives, being able to make a brief statement of your key points to them can make you a winner, especially if you meet them accidentally and can articulate your pitch.

Therefore you need to rehearse your elevator statement. Try it on your dog or cat, and if they like it, try it on your partner. Listen to their feedback – at least your partner’s! That should help you to find apt words in concise form.

Elevator pitches are great for networking events. When you first speak to someone you can briefly summarize your key points smoothly and effectively.

And the pitch works really in social media when you are introducing yourself. So many people waffle in social media. You can come straight to the key points.

A good elevator pitch formula is:

For (target audience or customer)
What (what they need or want)
Your company/product/service provides (key benefit, compelling reason to believe/invest/buy)

For an emailed media pitch you might say:

"Subject: Possible interview on …
“In the past six months, [name of organization] has helped our customers to [mention the product or service you want to push].

“Customers say it is the best [product or service] they have ever used. Some customers get [these results] out of it.

“I thought it might be of interest to you for a story as it fits in with the angles you have been covering this week.
“Our CEO and a major customer are available for an interview.

“I will call you tomorrow to check if you would like to follow this up.

If you want to call in the meantime, my number is …..

Bill Smith”

You can easily adapt this general formula for other situations:

"Hi. I'm [insert your name]. I work in [insert your department] and I [insert a couple things you do that add value to the company]."

You might then follow this up with a recent accomplishment:

"Hi. I'm Bill Smith. I’m marketing manager for [name of organization] and I manage our Web promotions. Recently, I began a new email marketing campaign that has increased the number of visitors by 30% and sales conversions by 25%."

If it is a sales situation you can give a call to action:

“This [product] could help you to achieve good results. Would you like me to call you to talk about it some further?”

Good luck!

About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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