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10 steps for a successful elevator pitch

elevator pitch startup

An elevator pitch is a short presentation, usually no more than a minute long, intended to get a conversation started.

The pitch might promote an idea, define a process, summarise a project, or market a product.

It might even be a pitch for a job. An elevator pitch is an overview but should include detail such as key features and main benefits.

Don’t fear the pitch – help is at hand

Dragon’s Den is perhaps the most famous example of an entrepreneur’s pitch where its purpose is to attract funding to start or develop a business.

But examples of an elevator pitch can be found in many contexts, for example sales and project management.

You need to structure your pitch so that it has a clear introduction, concise and relevant content, and a purposeful conclusion.

This kind of communication shows respect for listeners’ time and showcases the knowledge, composure, and skill of the speaker. So you sell yourself as well as your idea.

Whatever the purpose or context, the same principles apply to the preparation of an elevator pitch, and here, we provide 10 key steps to a winning pitch:

  1. Prepare thoroughly: You need to research your topic well. A missing point suggests inadequate preparation at best and, at worst, lack of knowledge and experience.
  2. Give it time: You can’t pitch well the day after your first draft. Draft your pitch, leave it and return after a break to reconsider and redraft. It’s an iterative process.
  3. Be clear: Make sure you’re clear about the purpose of your pitch. Only then can you get to the heart of the matter in one minute.
  4. Target your market: if you can, research your audience so that your key points are relevant to them. If it’s a sales team, concentrate on attributes, benefits and price points. If it’s for a job interview, focus on experience and key qualities that relate directly to a job description or person specification.
  5. Believe: Really believe in what you’re saying – it’s the only way to make other people believe in it too.
  6. Rehearse: Practice makes perfect. Make sure you try and get feedback if possible from a substitute panel.
  7. Be compelling: Start with impact, hook people and then reel them in.
  8. Be concise: Keep to the point and when it’s made, move on.
  9. Create desire: Leave your audience wanting to know more.
  10. Finish well: Preferably with a call to action – what do you want your audience to do as a result of your pitch? Don’t leave people wondering. Let them know.

Remember the above points when it comes to delivering you elevator pitch and you’re sure to be pitch perfect in no time!

Apply for this year’s Elevator Pitch Awards – applications close on Thursday 31st March.