When looking for investors interested in putting their money specifically into your product or service (or idea for it), you need to be prepared for the need to interest your interviewer during the small window of time they may find for you. In such a situation, you will need an effective elevator pitch – that is, a speech that you should be able to present during a short elevator ride (that’s how you can explain the origin of the name).
What is an elevator pitch – table of contents:
However, this type of speech works well not only in private meetings but also in other situations (e.g. a networking meeting, a recruitment interview or a presentation to investors at a specially organized event). For this reason, it is worth knowing what this type of speech is characterized by and how it should be prepared.
Elevator pitch – or what?
The elevator pitch is a concise presentation of an idea, product, service or company (depending on the needs and nature of the meeting), but at the same time in a way that is interesting to the interlocutor and gives the other person a chance to dig deeper into the topic. The main goal of this type of speech is to convey key information accessibly in just a minute – because that is exactly how much time the audience (investors, customers, colleagues, etc.) usually has.
It is most often pointed out that the speech should focus on the key differentiators and benefits of the product, service or idea, taking care not to go into details (especially those requiring additional explanation). Short, captivating, comprehensible to the recipient, devoid of technical aspects and specialized jargon – this is what an elevator pitch is, which turns on a metaphorical light bulb in the head of the interviewee.
How to prepare an effective elevator pitch? 5 key steps
How can you ensure that the elevator pitch you prepare fulfills its purpose and has all the features indicated above? Here are 5 steps that will get you there.
- Define the goal
- Write down the key aspects of the product/service/idea
- Find the story
- Prepare the content of the speech
- Practice, practice, practice
At the very beginning, you need to determine what you care about most (which also means tailoring your elevator pitch to the situation you are about to face). Defining your target is the first step to determining who your audience is (message alignment) and how you can interest them in your offer. What aspects you focus on in the next steps should be structured under the goal you set at the outset (and by extension, the effect you want to achieve).
Before formulating an elevator pitch, identify the most important aspects of your product, service or idea. These could be unique features, key benefits, values you offer, solving a problem or meeting a specific market need. Write these points down in note form so you can refer to them as you create content. Remember that what you consider most essential will depend on the situation and your audience, so you shouldn’t skip this step when preparing your next speech.
It is very often said in business and marketing circles that features, functionalities, material benefits do not sell – stories do. Storytelling evokes emotions and is better remembered than a dry presentation full of factual details, so use it to arouse interest in your audience. Thus, think about the personal experience that prompted you to create this product or idea or the story of a customer who succeeded with your service. Try to find the story with the most potential in the audience’s area of interest.
Once you have the key aspects written down in a notebook or document, as well as an idea of the story you want to tell, you can proceed to write down the content of the speech. Unfortunately, it is impossible to point out one good scheme for how you should formulate it. You can start with your own story, data, an amusing anecdote – any solution can be appropriate, as long as it is tailored to the audience and arouses their interest. But don’t forget at any point that you must deliver your speech before the elevator descends to the top floor and the doors open.
You won’t give a good speech in front of an investor or client if you don’t practice it beforehand – alone by repeating the words aloud in front of a mirror (to watch your facial expressions) or in front of a loved one (to get feedback). You must know what you want to convey, which should allow you to speak confidently, in the right tone and pace (not too fast and not too slow), naturally and fluently. However, don’t try to learn the speech by heart, because that way you risk complications (if, for example, due to stress you forget what the next sentence sounded like).
Elevator pitch – summary
Following the above-mentioned tips will make preparing an elevator pitch easier – regardless of the situation in which you need to deliver it. In particular, you should focus on making the speech short, tailored to the audience or situation (flexibility) and understandable, as well as evoking emotion. However, don’t forget that the elevator pitch is not an end in itself – it is the first tool that represents an opportunity for you to gain interest from the interviewer. Once that happens, you need to be ready for subsequent meetings, questions or speeches. Hence, in addition to making sure your speech is fascinating, make sure you’re ready for what may come next.