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What is an elevator pitch and how to create one

An elevator speech is a business pitch that you can literally deliver in an elevator. Wondering why you’d need to deliver a speech in an elevator? It’s actually just a metaphor.

In an elevator you bump into many people for a few seconds. Within those few seconds (30-120 seconds) if somebody asks you what you do or what business you represent, you should be able to deliver all the crucial information in that short time. Your pitch should be informative, persuasive and at the same time short.

You can use your elevator speech or pitch anywhere, not just in an elevator and it is a vital ingredient of every branding, business and marketing communications and public relations program. You can use it in an interview, while meeting prospective clients and investors and even while creating your online dating profiles. It’s like, you need convincingly sell your proposition in just a few, very clearly defined sentences.

Why you need to prepare an elevator speech or pitch

You may think why you need to “prepare” it when you already know what you do? Getting new clients and customers is very critical to your business, right? You need to make an impact and when you need to make an impact you cannot just take chances. You prepare for job interviews for the same reason — you never know what questions the interviewer is going to ask. When you prepare an elevator pitch you won’t by mistake leave critical bits of information that have the ability to make or break deals. You won’t be caught off-guard. If you prepare the speech there is a great chance you’ll try to learn it by heart and practice it a few times

Normally when somebody asks you what you do you may normally say, “I’m a social media marketing expert” and beyond that you may get stuck although you have tons of things to say. If you have an elevator pitch ready you may say something like:

“I’m a social media marketing expert primarily helping mid-sized and large businesses establish a vibrant presence on websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube so that they can directly interact with their customers and clients and streamline their products and services accordingly. I help them build communities around their brands so that when they need to communicate or get feedback there is a responsive audience ready for them.”

Now the person has a clear idea of what you can deliver to a business.

How to prepare an elevator pitch

  • Clearly define what value you deliver. This is very important. Have you a clear idea of exactly what’s the biggest advantage of working with you? Exactly what do you deliver to your customers and clients and what benefit do they derive from it. And why should they work with you and not somebody else? What is the problem that you actually solve. What would motivate that person to do business with you?
  • Clearly define your target audience. For an elevator it might not be possible because you may bump into all sorts of people, but when you are creating your elevator pitch keep a particular profile in your mind. If that’s not possible, then prepare multiple pitches for different target audience profiles (and don’t mix up!).
  • Get rid of the unnecessary. Since you need to pack all the relevant information in as few sentences as possible, get rid of things that are not very critical. If you are a content writer, for instance, don’t start on what procedure you follow to create content that performs, just let the person know what effect it has on his or her business and how you maintain the quality.
  • Keep it simple but passionate. Prepare your elevator pitch in an elegant but simple language. Don’t use unnecessary jargon and complex expressions as these may distract or intimidate the person you are talking to. At the same time, keep it passionate. You should be excited about what you can deliver because then this passion and excitement may also rub onto your prospective customer or client.