The phrase “elevator pitch” literally refers to the moment you step into an elevator and find yourself face-to-face with a major business CEO, Hollywood producer or another distinguished individual. It’s a chance to showcase your value or sell your big idea, but it’s nearly impossible to predict when, or even if, that moment is going to happen. So, how do you prepare yourself?
The answer: Summarize your key points, and engage the listener. You need a smooth hook composed in as few words that effectively addresses the following components of your idea, such as:
What makes your idea unique?
How is it better than others?
- What gives you credibility?
It may seem impossible to craft a proposal in just a sentence or two, but it can be done. Movie loglines, for instance, offer viewers only one-to-two sentences of summary for feature-length films. Loglines have the ability to capture a viewer's interest, with the hopes that the film will be a good investment of their time and money. Though longer and more detailed, business proposals function in a similar fashion. This process is known as “hooking” your prospective audience. In order to have a good hook, you must have a well thought-out business plan to build it off of.
To help develop your elevator pitch:
Write it out in long form first, limiting yourself to no more than two paragraphs.
Read over your paragraphs, until you can pinpoint the core message of the pitch. What are you really trying to get across?
Then, take a red pen, and start crossing out and combining sections together, until you have a short paragraph of two-to-three sentences.
- Practice, practice, practice. To ensure a confident delivery, practice your pitch a few times over to reassure yourself that you’re clearly and effectively selling your big idea.
Sometimes, the most challenging part of an elevator pitch is the introduction. How do you develop an easy transition to begin talking business with someone? It’s helpful to formulate a few conversational segues to use, based on the circumstances and personality types. Small talk or a compliment might work for some, but something more direct might perform better on others.
There are two ways that you can successfully find out what type of personality you are dealing with. If you have the luxury of knowing who you are meeting with and when, do your research. Look up their company’s website, their LinkedIn profile and other relevant pages online to understand the dynamics. If you don’t have that advantage, always stay on top of the news within your field of interest, so you will be more likely to recognise key players in your field— making it easier to address them in an appropriate and relevant manner. Lastly, it’s important in any type of business profession to be able read people’s body language to get an immediate read on their disposition.
Ask yourself, are they:
Focused or distracted? Are they making eye contact with you or staring off into space?
Chatty or reserved? Did they greet you or engage in conversation with others around you or just keep to themselves?
Rushed or at ease? Do they seem out of sorts or calm and put together?
- Frustrated or cheerful? Do they seem on edge or welcoming conversation?
From the elevator to the boardroom, this practice can be utilized in many professional scenarios. Maybe you’re presenting a new concept to your boss at work, asking for a raise, selling a product to a potential client or pitching your business to investors—in any case, it’s important to communicate an idea in a concise and compelling way.