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5 Min. Read

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

The art of persuasion is complex and difficult to master. But one of the first skills that a working professional has to learn is how to deliver an elevator pitch.

What exactly is an elevator pitch, and why would you use one? In the guide below, we’ll explore the answers to both questions. Plus, we’ll show you how to deliver a persuasive elevator pitch every time.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Elevator Pitches Explained

Why Do You Need an Elevator Speech?

How to Use an Elevator Pitch Effectively

What to Say During an Elevator Pitch

Key Takeaways

Elevator Pitches Explained

An elevator pitch or elevator speech is essentially a fast but persuasive synopsis of:

  • Your background, if you want to be hired by a recruiter OR
  • A project idea if you need to gain funding for an entrepreneurial venture

It’s called an elevator pitch because it’s supposed to be finished in the same time as a quick elevator ride. This isn’t to say you should give an elevator pitch when you’re in an elevator with someone. In fact, you should probably avoid it!

But elevator pitches can be effective tools both for go-getters looking to be hired and business owners who need more funding. An elevator pitch summarizes a key topic and offers reasons for the listener to be interested.

Why Do You Need an Elevator Speech?

In short, you need an elevator pitch to ensure that someone continues to listen to you.

For example, say that your business owner and you want to convince an investor to fund your new business idea. At your first meeting, they may ask for an elevator pitch for your business concept before they look at any more information.

A basic elevator pitch sells the idea of your business to the investor. In less than a minute, you can get the investor on board and interested in your entrepreneurial venture. That makes them more likely to dive deeper into any materials you’ve prepared. They may also be more likely to provide you funding at the end of the meeting.

Professionals looking for work can also use elevator pitches for success. A personal elevator pitch sells yourself to a recruiter or HR representative. It makes them more likely to continue the interview and ask deeper questions about your career goals, sales skills, and more.

Those already working at businesses can also use elevator pitches to propose projects. For example, a hard-working employee looking for a promotion could volunteer a new project idea. The elevator pitch could convince management to approve the idea and give the employee a chance to shine.

How to Use an Elevator Pitch Effectively

While elevator pitches can be effective, they must be done correctly for you to see all their benefits. Bad or unpersuasive elevator pitches can end an interview or funding request before it really begins.

To that end, keep these things in mind when delivering an elevator pitch:

  • It must be brief, ideally between 30 and 60 seconds. If you’re looking for work, for example, it should be a short recap of who you are and your skills. It's limited time, sure, but it's the length of the average elevator ride!
  • It must be persuasive. Keep your pitch conversational by nature. But a well-crafted elevator pitch should use compelling words and imagery, too. This will inspire the listener to delve deeper into what you offer
  • It must be positive. An effective elevator pitch should be delivered without hesitation. After all, you’re trying to persuade someone else to listen to you!

What to Say During an Elevator Pitch

If you want to make sure your elevator pitch is persuasive, you’ll want to include a few major pieces of information. These are:

  • The goals for you or your business. If you’re trying to get hired, explain your goals and what you want out of the company. If you're a business owner, describe your long-term goals to the investor. Have a business card ready, along with a business plan and business analytics for them to dig into
  • Your qualifications. The skills you have will often be the factor that determines whether your listener is on board at the end of your pitch. For example, are you a great sales rep? Do you have perfect communication skills? Mention these!
  • What you want. Don’t play coy when delivering a powerful elevator pitch. Say exactly what you want, like, “I hope you consider me for the position”. Or try, “I sincerely believe your investment could lead to a launch by the end of the year”
  • Have a business card, especially if you're giving your elevator speeches at a career fair. You only have a moment to make an impression on potential employers. A business card will help them remember you

Key Takeaways

Ultimately, a perfect elevator pitch is a powerful tool you can and should use to its maximum extent. Practice a few prepared elevator pitch speeches in front of the mirror or at networking events before delivering. Remember to hit the key points and topics mentioned above, too. With a little effort, you’ll quickly learn to sell yourself or your business in style. 

Find more tips for your business on our resource guide.


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