Many entrepreneurs approach their elevator pitch thinking they have to woo and verbally sway their audience enough to pull out their checkbooks. The truth is a good pitch is more than that. Yes, an elevator pitch can successfully bring in investors when starting a business, but effective pitches can also help you capture new clients and begin valuable conversations and collaborations.
This article will go over the best practices for creating an elevator pitch, with examples to guide crafting your own.
How to create an elevator pitch
From networking events, job interviews and professional gatherings to an actual elevator ride, you may use your elevator speech to clearly and concisely introduce yourself and market your skills. An infamous study in 2015 made waves around the world for comparing human attention span to a goldfish’s, an average of 9 seconds—so a clear, concise elevator pitch can help you communicate the most during that time frame. To create an effective elevator speech—no matter to whom and where you’re pitching—follow these four general rules. For better understanding, I’ve used a time management app as a pitch example throughout the steps.
01. Clearly state your goals
Think about the real goal of your elevator pitch. You need to clearly express to your audience who you are and what you do. In turn, they should also walk away with an understanding of what you want from them.
Go back to your company’s mission statement for the right wording of your vision and values. For instance, as the creator of a time management software, you might want to say, “I started a time management app to help others around the world thrive by working more efficiently together.” Your goal is clear — to increase productivity — but more importantly broad enough in your elevator pitch to use with investors and referrals alike.
02. Grab their attention with a great hook
An engaging opener will help your elevator pitch really stand out. Try to think of a juicy detail, a question, a funny story or a memorable client to share in the opening moment. A personal touch can transform an awkward or mundane exchange into the beginning of a lifelong connection. A good hook will also pique your audience’s interest, signaling for others to listen to you. It should spotlight what sets you, your business and your leadership apart.
For example, if you’re pitching a product based upon your career experience, your hook might sound something like this: “At my first job in content marketing, I did not know how to manage my time.” If you don’t have a personal story to share, you can also start with a statistic that inspired your business. For example, if you’re pitching a time management software you might start with: “1 in 8 people never feel under control at work.”
03. Emphasize your value proposition
In your elevator pitch, you’ll need to emphasize your value proposition. Prepare a brief statement or business proposal that describes how your products or services set you apart from the rest. Focus on details that will help others outside the company understand not only the benefits or features of your offering, but also how you solve problems better than your competitors.
A strong value proposition should be clear, concise, genuine and customer-specific. To help create an effective value proposition, you can use any market research you’ve conducted thus far. For example, the project manager of a time management software surveys a segment of their target market, asking them, “What features are missing in time management apps?” With the answers they’ve collected they can demonstrate the company’s added value.
04. Practice your elevator pitch
Now that you’ve written your pitch, it’s time to make it perfect. The first few times you read and practice your elevator pitch, you want to time yourself. Ideally, your pitch should be well under a minute. Make sure to practice the pitch with people who will give you honest feedback.
Additionally, record yourself and listen back to catch any weak parts or stumbles. Avoid using filler words such as “um,” “ah” and “you know” to sound concise and confident.
With enough practice, your speech will sound natural and convincing. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions and your true self shine through. Showing genuine passion for your work can often cause others to empathize and connect with you.
Elevator pitch examples
Use our examples to help guide you through crafting your own 30-second elevator speech. You’ll want to consider the four points for creating an elevator pitch mentioned above, including emphasizing your goals, hooking listeners with an attention grabbing statement or question, adding value and presenting a polished speech.
01. Local bakery
“According to a McKinsey report, 55% of Americans are extremely or very concerned about the environmental impact of product packing. We are too—and that’s why our bakery uses sustainable packaging and locally-sourced ingredients to minimize our environmental impact and provide the best takeaway options for our environmentally-conscious customers. We aspire to expand our reach and make a positive impact with the opening of a new branch. Your contribution toward our crowdfunding campaign will help us set up shop in the next town over and share our mission with more of our community members.”
02. Self-employed freelance artist
"My name is Ashley Garcia and I am a freelance artist based in Chicago. Since graduating from the School of the Art Institute with honors, I’ve wanted to share my illustrations with the world. Today, I am looking for corporate funding to help grow my budding art business into a boutique illustration agency and secure my future in the field."
03. FemTech startup
"In 2021, the FemTech world surpassed $1 billion in investment from global venture capital firms, meaning that more attention is being paid to women’s health than ever. Our company has created a mobile app for breast health monitoring at home, receiving reliable feedback from testers in the beta phase. We are searching for an angel investor who will not only help us get this important product to the global marketplace, but will bring their expertise to foster business growth thereafter. "
04. Instagram influencer
"As a fashion influencer, with over 20K followers, I’ve engaged directly with more people through my Instagram than some marketing departments in my industry. I want to take my content from social media onto the big screen. My goal is to create a reality show based around my success in fashion."
05. Education consultant
"With decades of experience in the education field and having helped hundreds of clients, I am ready to assist other parents who are struggling with navigating through choosing the right school for their children. While my consulting website is my strongest marketing tool, I am asking for referrals from past clients to create direct bonds with new clients who can benefit from my services."