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An effective elevator pitch will make you more influential in your role

01 Jun, 2020 Careers, Networking, first impressions, Persuasion, influence, motivation

An effective elevator pitch will make you more influential in your role when you want to create interest from people potentially important to you. An elevator pitch is a brief, memorable 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 use in business and sales presentations, speeches and interviews. They are also valuable for creating interest from someone important to you, such as when you want to sell an idea to your CEO, or tell people about the change project you are leading.

As Aja Frost at HubSpot says, “An elevator pitch is never an opportunity to close a deal. It’s an opportunity to close more of your prospect’s attention and time. It’s a quick introduction to you, your company, and how you can help your prospect.

For many people, without even realizing it, an effective 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. When writing an email, many people don’t get to the point quickly. Practice getting to your point quickly in your media pitches as well. You are likely to score more successes as a result.

As time is so scarce when dealing with others, making a brief statement of your key points can make you a winner, especially if you meet them accidentally and can articulate your pitch.

Important to rehearse your elevator pitch

Therefore you need to rehearse your elevator pitch. 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.

Remember that your body language is important when talking person-to-person and on Zoom connections. People will recall your non-verbal presentation as much as your verbal presentation. Therefore, practice in front of a mirror and in front of others you trust to be candid, until the pitch feels natural. It won’t take much of their time – only 30 seconds!

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.

Effective elevator pitch formula

  • Your goal (Decide what you want to achieve with your pitch)
  • For (Target audience or customer)
    What (What they need or want – does it match to your goal?)
    Your company/product/service provides (key benefit, compelling reason to believe/invest/buy)
  • Engage with a question (Use open-ended question/s)
  • Let them know how to contact you.

Sample email pitch to online consumer website

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

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

General pitching formula

You can easily adapt this general formula for other situations:

“Hi. I’m [insert your name]. I work in [insert your department/organization] and I [insert a couple things you do that add value to the company].”

You might then follow this up with a recent accomplishment.

Another angle:

“Hi. I’m [insert your name]. I manage marketing promotions for [department/organization]. 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 could help you to achieve good results. Would you like me to call you to talk about it some further?”

Other things you could include in an effective elevator pitch

In a 2017 Inc. article, Stephanie Frank makes some good suggestions:

When they ask, “What do you do?”, the real question in the person’s mind is, “What can you do for me?” The answer to that question is one of the most important answers you can provide a stranger or potential new customer. Your reply can either have people nodding and smiling politely or eagerly saying, “Really? I need that!” in response.

Your elevator speech should state, in a sentence or two, exactly who you work with and how you help someone solve a problem. It should include at least three of these five components:

  1. Describe your ideal customer. Who are your best clients or customers?
  2. Show the benefits or results the customer would get when giving you their business. What will they get more or less of when they work with you?
  3. Appeal to the need or problem of the other person. What problem do you solve?
  4. Describe the result that will be provided. What results have your clients or customers enjoyed?
  5. Influence people to say, “Tell Me More!”

Good luck!

About Kim Harrison – author, editor and content curator

Kim Harrison, Founder and Principal of Cutting Edge PR, loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in his books available from

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