First of all, what is an elevator pitch? Simply put it is a speech that aims to sell you. It is an essential tool you can use to build your personal brand. With this, your elevator pitch needs to provide a clear and compelling overview of who you are and what you can offer to your listener.
It’s you selling yourself in a brief and concise manner, using a format that most people are familiar with. As your elevator pitch works like your personal brand statement, it should be crafted and delivered powerfully and memorably.
So, who needs an elevator pitch? Practically anyone who needs to sell their services and expertise, such as management consultants. And maybe just anyone who meets new business contacts on a regular basis. You most probably need an elevator pitch when attending industry conferences, networking events, and other opportunities wherein you can strike up business relationships.
As a polished pitch is critical to one’s personal marketing, it is important that you know how to write and deliver a good one.
Creating Great Elevator Pitch
You’ll likely to go through several revisions in order to craft an impeccable elevator pitch. To create a great pitch, here are some useful tips.
Identify Your Objective
In crafting your speech, your goal must be clear to you first. This will guide you in writing your pitch. Think about your objective and craft your speech accordingly. For instance, would you like to inform potential clients about your organization’s new product? Or you’d simply want an engaging speech to explain what your expertise is?
Explain What You Do
The recommended way to start your pitch is by describing what your company does. For management consultants for example, you should focus on what you and your organization can do to help other people or organizations. If possible, mention specific information or statistics that demonstrates the value of what you do.
Also, make sure that your elevator pitch excites you first. You see, if you yourself don’t get excited about what you’re saying, your audience will likely feel the same. Your audience may not absorb everything that you say, but they will surely remember your passion and enthusiasm. In crafting your speech, always remember to answer this: What do you want people to remember about you?
It is also recommended NOT to use corporate jargon in your pitch. For instance for management consultants, if you use buzzwords or terms that your audience may not be familiar with, they may not fully grasp the message you are trying to convey. So it is best to avoid such terms and simply stick to clear and concise phrasing.
Be Clear with Your Unique Selling Proposition
Based on your objective, make sure you effectively communicate your unique selling proposition to you audience. This means being clear with what you or your company have that others don’t have. What makes you, your idea or your organization unique? This uniqueness would be your ticket to attracting your target audience. Ideally, you should talk about your unique selling proposition after you’ve explained what you and your organization do.
Share Your Most Relevant Experience
Talking about what you do does not mean telling your whole story. Elevator pitch should be concise so only mention your most relevant experiences. For example, for management consultants, it is preferable to share experiences with notable corporations first. This will make your audience want to hear more from you. If you talk too much about your experiences, you may not hook them to learn more. Your pitch is your brand statement so make every second of it meaningful, interesting and relevant.
Engage Your Audience
Once you effectively convey your unique selling proposition, it is now time to engage your audience. One good trick is by asking open-ended questions. Remember, successful networkers build strong relationships through conversation. Good conversation requires engagement from both parties. So prepare some insightful questions for your audience. This gives an opportunity for them to talk about themselves. This will keep the conversation going and eventually start new and fruitful relationships. Also don’t forget to answer any questions they have for you.
Put it All Together
After you’ve completed every aspect of your pitch, put it all together and read it out loud. Make sure to monitor how long it takes. Your speech needs to be shorter than a minute, ideally around 30 seconds. If you exceed this time frame, you might lose the interest of your audience. Your pitch must be snappy and compelling, so be as concise as possible.
Delivering a Convincing Elevator Pitch
Here are some guidelines on how deliver a powerful pitch:
Although professionals like management consultants are most likely good at public speaking, practice is still a must to make it perfect, if not close to perfect. How you say things is critical to the efficiency of your pitch. Make it sound natural and mind how fast you talk. Practice your pitch regularly. Remember, your speech needs to sound like a natural conversation and not like an aggressive sales pitch. Don’t make it sound too rehearsed, even though it is!
Your practice sessions should also consider body language. It is best to practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. Being aware of your body language can further help you convey your information to the listeners. Then ask your practice buddies for feedback. Ask them which part grabbed their attention and which one seems confusing. Based on the feedback, revise your speech and continue to improve.
Record your practice sessions and listen through what you’ve recorded. Identify the parts that hook you with clear, powerful words. Also try to find the parts that seem vague or confusing. Then write down another version until you come up with a tighter pitch. Do a final edit and remove any unnecessary until you fit in the time limit, between 30 and 60 seconds.
Make it Sound Casual
An elevator pitch is far different from a historic speech you had to memorize back in school. Try to add some improvisation so it will not sound like you’ve just used the same old speech over and over again.
As with any public speaking engagement, confidence is key. Lack of confidence will hurt your chances of getting your audience’s trust. However, be careful not to sound arrogant or boastful. Just be positive and confident as you deliver your speech.
End with a call to action
Don’t forget to end your pitch with a call to action. In the first place, you’re talking to convey a memorable message that will encourage your audience to take action. Excite them to do what you want them to do.
Want to apply your elevator pitch expertise to consulting? Learn more about starting a consulting career through free guide, Learn How to Break into Consulting. Find out how to craft impeccable consulting application documents as well as how to well prepare for case interviews.