Neil Patel

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How to make a good impression with an elevator pitch?

Whether you are at the right place at the right time and you have to think on your feet. Even if you have a planned moment – you will only have one moment to make a good impression with an elevator pitch.

Sometimes an elevator pitch is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it is your job to make it as engaging and creative as possible.

You will need an elevator pitch at some point in your career. You might need it to explain why you need a promotion, pitch a new idea within the company, or to seek investors for a new startup.

The perfect pitch will help you create a good impression with your audience.

Knowing the components to include in an elevator pitch will demonstrate the qualities for the job or investment you seek.

Prepare for this potential life-changing moment now, so you don’t risk losing the opportunity.

These components include:

  • The problem: Introduce the problem that you intend to solve.
  • Solution: How do you intend to solve the problem?
  • Selling point: What makes your solution or business different?
  • Hook: Get the attention of your audience with a good hook.
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    The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a brief speech describing who you are and what you want to achieve.

It is short and compelling, just like an elevator ride. In your pitch, you must be able to share your expertise and credentials with someone who doesn’t know anything about you.

As the name implies, an elevator pitch should be delivered in the time of an elevator ride, or less

How long should an elevator pitch be?

The length of the elevator pitch does not depend on the point you are getting across or your business.

It is entirely dependent on your audience. The pitch isn’t intended to explain your whole business or idea, nor should it be formal.

It needs to be engaging and attention-grabbing, so your audience is left wanting more information.

  • 90 seconds: A 90-second elevator pitch is most appropriate in a formal setting. You will use a 90-second pitch during presentations, video pitches, or when pitching to investors while networking.
  • 60 seconds: Unless your audience is dedicated to listening, 60 seconds is too long for an elevator pitch. A 60-second pitch is most appropriate after your initial 15-30 second pitch, and the audience wants to know more. You can also use a 60-second pitch during a second meeting or explaining to a group of people.
  • 30 seconds or less: Your 30-second or less pitch could be the only interaction you have with the person or business, so every word and second must count. You will explain who you are, what you do, and the reason for the pitch. You use a 15-30 second pitch in most introductions and meetings.

If you haven’t grabbed their attention in 15-30 seconds, you might not have that opportunity again, so it is essential to practice and have a pitch on hand if you don’t already have one.

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That’s the reason why you should learn how to make a good impression with an elevator pitch.

Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

When to Use an Elevator Pitch

There are various reasons why you need an elevator pitch, especially during job interviews, passing encounters, and speed networking.

When an interviewer asks, “tell me about yourself.” You will use an elevator pitch to introduce yourself, highlight your skills and experience.

On the other hand, if you are a recruiter or hiring manager, you can create a pitch to give an overview of the company to job seekers.

If you are a business owner or have a start-up, your elevator pitch is used to introduce your latest venture to draw in investors, or potential partners and customers.

Let them know who you are, your products and services, and what your company is all about.

It is a simple yet highly efficient marketing tool for a business owner. Ensure that you grab their attention in the first few seconds, so they want to know more about you or your business.

Have a business card ready to hand them at the end of your pitch, or your phone out and ready to trade contact info.

How to Create the Perfect Elevator Pitch

When writing the perfect elevator pitch, ensure you answer the following:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • How would you explain the purpose of the pitch?
  • What do you want?

Introduce Yourself

Your introduction should only be about one to two sentences and the most straightforward part of your pitch.

You can include your professional role and title. Be sure to smile and shake their hand as you provide your introduction. Your pitch has just begun.

Describe what led you to that moment. It might seem impossible to do in such a short time, but a brief history of who you are can give your investors an idea of who you are, such as your resilience and dedication.

What You Do

In just a few sentences, mention all relevant qualifications.

You don’t have to discuss your high school career; limit it only to the most relevant points.

If you attended college and it’s been years, you won’t need to mention it as your work experience will speak for itself.

Before you start composing this part of your pitch, think about how you can customize it to the industry of importance.

If you pitch to someone in the tech industry, only mention experience and qualifications in this market.

What should be included?

  • Former and current job duties
  • Accomplishments
  • Highlight your successes – use numbers if relevant
  • Companies you worked for that might be relevant
  • Certifications
  • Your motivation for the pitch

Once you have completed this section, reread it and see where you can cut out information.

It is normal to want to mention all your accomplishments, but you find that some things can be removed when you have read it multiple times.

Record yourself giving the pitch, and unless the information is essential, they don’t need to be there.

When you have gotten all the information down to just a few points, arrange them to make sense in your story. Work out the best strategies for how to make a good impression with an elevator pitch.

What You Want

This is the ‘ask’ section of your pitch. Explain why you can bring value to the opportunity and why you need the audience to achieve that.

For example, suppose you are a new start-up digital marketing company and pitching to a potential client.

You can explain your experience with marketing automation and how you achieve company goals. Mention what you are working on in the industry you are pursuing.

Now, if you are seeking a job, you can discuss your current job duties, any projects you might be working on, the industry you’re in, and what initiatives keep you busy.

Where You Want to Go

This is your moment to discuss your goals. Every sentence of your pitch leads up to this, and you can elaborate on your goals.

Start by simplifying your goals and separating them into relevance and time.

  • Short-term goals: List all the goals that you feel are relevant for the near future. Perhaps you are a start-up and need funding now to accomplish your long-term goals, or you are switching careers or graduating from college. Project your short-term goals to be accomplished within three years.
  • Intermediary term goals: These goals will include how you intend to grow your business or grow theirs depending on the motive of your pitch. It could be raising venture capital or joining a new industry and finding your place within it. These goals are your 5-7 year plan.
  • Long-term goals: Your long-term goals are your 7+ year goals and include investing, having an established business, or the position you want to hold in the business.

Once you have a complete list of your professional goals for the next 7+ years, choose the ones that are the most relevant to the industry of your pitch.

If they are irrelevant, such as your family goals, you might lose the audience’s attention or come off as unmotivated.

Reevaluate Your Elevator Pitch

Now you will combine all sections – who you are, what you do, what you want, and where you want to go.

Practice your elevator pitch and time yourself. If it is too long, find the areas that can get shortened or are irrelevant remove them.

There is always room for improvement.

Is your elevator pitch easy to understand?

Don’t confuse your audience with complex information or ideas.

You only have 15-30 seconds to make a good impression, and so every sentence must be of value, so everyone gets it.

Use plain language and avoid technical jargon unless you are confident the audience understands it or is relevant.

You might just alienate the recruiter by assuming they get it. Practice your pitch with people who can give you constructive criticism and ensure that every part of your elevator pitch fits together.

Call to Action

The last part of your elevator pitch is your call to action. You can end it with a question or statement about what you want to happen next and leave the answer up to the audience.

If you pitch to investors, ask if they would be interested in a meeting where you can give a more in-depth pitch about what you are looking for.

If you want a position at someone’s business, ask if you can set up a formal interview.

While this is an intimidating part of your pitch, you still need to do it, so the pitch doesn’t come to an awkward end.

Where do you go from here? Well, that’s up to the audience. So, you need to work out just how to make a good impression with an elevator pitch.

When you’re ready for more information about how to create an elevator pitch, check out this video I have put together. You’re sure to find it helpful.

How to Deliver an Elevator Pitch

This is often the most challenging part – the delivery. You might be confident in your pitch but have difficulty with the delivery.

  • Speak naturally: Practicing your speech in a conversational tone without it sounding rehearsed is your main objective in the delivery. Try not to memorize a script; instead, have talking points that you plan to cover, so it sounds more organic and natural.
  • Body language: Give attention to your posture and smile at the audience, so you present yourself as approachable and friendly. Give a firm handshake and portray confidence. Avoid looking down and hold eye contact with the listener.
  • Talk slow: Don’t talk too fast, or your audience might miss important information and keep a low and thoughtful pace. Speaking too fast will make it seem you lack confidence or are nervous. Consciously remind yourself to speak slow and clear while taking relaxed breaths throughout your pitch. Avoid rambling or you’ll lose your audience’s interest.
  • Conclusion: After your elevator pitch, shake hands with the listener, give them a business card if they want to hear more, or ask for their contact information. Thank them for their time and let them know you will follow up to see if there is a better time to connect.

Learning how to make a good impression with an elevator pitch is critical for engaging investors. It’s your best shot at getting through and achieving your intended objectives.

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

If possible, tailor your elevator pitch to suit your desired industry and recipient. You are more likely to get a positive result from your pitch by a customized pitch.

Have a generalized backup pitch in mind for all audiences – you never know when you might need it!

If the person you are delivering the pitch is uninterested, it’s better to respect their wishes and conclude the conversation gracefully.

Forcing your pitch on someone will leave a lasting bad impression on the listener, and you never know when you will see them in the future.

Take your time developing the perfect pitch and focus the content on your background and goals.

Practice it in front of other people and record yourself doing it so you can hear for yourself if it sounds rehearsed.

Give a firm handshake at the start of the pitch and the end as a professional courtesy.

Creating an elevator pitch is a thoughtful, step-by-step process and must be engaging and straightforward.

This 15-30 second pitch is your way of showing who you are, what you are capable of, and how you can help the listener.

Relay that you are an asset, and they must have you. This is a potentially new beginning for you or your business, so learn how to make a good impression with an elevator pitch, review, and deliver it confidently.

You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.


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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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