how to have elevator pitch

5 Steps to the Perfect Elevator Pitch

What is the most common question you’re asked when you meet someone new? Is it:

A)  How did you become so amazing?

B)  Can I draw on your hat?

C)  What do you do?

I bet you passed the quiz! For some reason, every person we meet wants to know what we do. And if you’re in need of a job, a new gig, new clients, or even just a little respect you need to answer that question in a way that gets people to feel it’s relevant to them and want to learn more.

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What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a 15-20 second description of what you do or how you benefit others. The premise of an elevator pitch is that if you found yourself in an elevator with your ideal prospect and you only had a few floors to make him or her interested in hearing more about you. 

It’s not a sales pitch; it’s a well-versed speech blurb designed to get folks to want to learn more.

Is designing your elevator pitch scary to you? Have you done it yet? If not, rest assured! I’m here for you! Let me take you through the steps.

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Here are the 5 steps to the perfect elevator pitch in a nutshell:

  1. Think about the benefits for your customer, not about what you do.  
  2. Make sure your words are concise & active–no passive speech!  
  3. Record yourself delivering your pitch.  
  4. Listen to it & relentlessly make assessments.
  5. Practice alone & then with others.

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Scroll to the bottom for the elevator pitch infographic!

how to have perfect elevator pitch

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Elevator Pitch

When people refer to their elevator pitch, they’re describing their core message, which tells people who they are & what they do.

The reason it’s called an elevator pitch is that you are supposed to imagine you’re in an elevator with someone. And that person is one with whom you wouldn’t mind having a relationship (work-wise or personal). What would you say to them if you’ve only got 30 seconds?

That’s why there are 30-second elevator pitches, 60-second pitches; you get it. There are different elevator pitches, too, depending on if you want that person to be your next client or if you think they look cool and you want to have lunch.

But don’t get crazy thinking about all the elevator pitches you need to design. Just start with the most important ones for your life right now.

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Want to be more influential? We all want to communicate our most important messages in a way that encourages others to take action. Whether that action is voting for our candidate or picking up milk from the store, the words we use and how we speak play a huge role in getting the job done.

You Need an Amazing Elevator Pitch

Firstly, you need to be able to describe your story so it’s compelling to others. That people enjoy listening to.

Secondly, you have to sell yourself to others when you speak. Making your elevator pitch compelling and persuasive is an easy way to do just that.

Don’t think: “sketchy car salesman.” Think of you developing great relationships with others. Because that’s what it’s about: Having strong, successful relationships with others.

Communicating the thoughts that are in your mind to others so they see things the way you do is challenging. It involves translation. 

Did you ever begin to speak and then realize you were using too many words or you couldn’t find the right words? You’ll want to work on translating your thoughts into words.

Evolution of Speech

We humans have only recently begun to communicate in anxiety-ridden situations. The communicative situations we find ourselves in just over the past few decades are unprecedented.

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Never before in history has the genpop been required to meet, impress, and sell to this many people. And in such anxiety-ridden situations.  Think about it. 

And it’s getting worse! We’ve got the gig economy, the aftermath of the lockdown. We are constantly needing to improve ourselves.

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High-stakes situations.

In the recent past, young adults were provided with their spouses or had a tiny pool from which to choose.

Our parents & grandparents had jobs they went to every day. They retired & lived in their communities with the same folks doing routine things. (Generally speaking–of course, there are exceptions.)

This resulted in fewer unfamiliar situations where they had to prove themselves.

But now! Now we’re required to prove ourselves at every turn. We need to develop new solutions at work, speak up in meetings, give presentations, ask for a raise, ask to work from home, make small talk with countless unfamiliar individuals daily, obtain venture capital; the list goes on.

Evolution works like this: Encounter problem–>determine how to solve the problem–>adapt.

We’re in the “determine solution” phase.  Our brains, at the moment, still go into “fight or flight” during high-stress communicative situations causing us to not perform at our best.

It’s in our best interest and that of our children that we learn to adapt.  Adapting requires re-training the brain.

Elevator Pitch Design

Ok, guys, this is just going to take a little time. I’d recommend practicing a little bit each day. You should have it nailed down in about a week.

Here’s how to retrain your brain to communicate at your best during anxiety-ridden situations. 

  1. Think about the benefits for the customer.  Don’t talk about what you do but about what the customer gets.  Turn: “I’m an accountant”  into “I keep Uncle Sam’s fingers out of my clients’ wallets.” This results in a more impressive elevator pitch.        
  2.  Check your wording.  Make sure your words are concise & active. No passiveness. Don’t start with “well”, “um”, “actually” or “just.” These words don’t belong anywhere, let alone your elevator pitch.

    I do this with my first-time clients.  Role-playing, I ask them, “what do you do?” They almost invariably start with an undermining passive word. Don’t do this! It’ll make it easier for people to really understand your message.    

  3.  Record yourself and relentlessly assess yourself:  Are you going down at the end of your sentences resulting in a robust and confident sound?

    Does your voice sound warm, credible & authoritative?  Is your wording strong & efficient?  If not, make it so. It helps to hear your own voice and how you speak. If you’re avoiding recording yourself, then you absolutely need to do it!   

  4. When you’re happy with the wording, practice with your recorder multiple times.  Then practice it with everyone you meet. Consequently, when the pressure’s on, you’ll have it mastered!    
  5.  Make warm eye contact and smile.  You got this!

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Practice Your Elevator Pitch

As you can see, crafting your elevator pitch isn’t a challenging task, but it does require some determination on your part. 3 or 4 tries on your own, and it should be sound incredible. Then practice selling yourself to others. There too, you’ll notice that you keep getting better. 

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This is a revised version of an article found here.

perfect elevator pitch design

2 thoughts on “5 Steps to the Perfect Elevator Pitch”

  1. This is gold! I have a couple of interviews lined up to hopefully advance my career, so I truly appreciate these tips and tricks. Will be using a lot of this info. Thanks!

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