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The Ideal Elevator Pitch

Posted by Devin Cole  April 13, 2012 02:49 PM

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The clichéd idiom “elevator pitch” has survived the tech bubble because uniqueness is usually trumped by utility. The need for effective solutions is a crucial part of life and the cornerstone for commerce. Companies seek the most effective ways to attract more customers, while consumers are always on the hunt for an efficient solution for their needs. Consequently, an effective elevator pitch is crucial for companies in search of funding, job applicants seeking employment, and small businesses in search of new customers.

Commerce at its highest level is a collective process that requires matching needs with attractive solutions. Accordingly, the need for effective communication is paramount to transitioning from merely surviving to thriving.

People are busy and your elevator pitch must be well-rehearsed and as easy to say as your name. Working with others involves understanding their needs. Accordingly, a brief summary of the solution you are offering is attractive to a busy executive or consumer.

"A well crafted elevator pitch will open many doors while a poorly delivered one will keep the doors shut. Create a short, to the point statement that not only explains what you do, but what makes you different." - Lauren Zirilli Founder, JILLIES Medical Treatment Wear for Women.

A successful elevator pitch must:

  1. Grab the attention
  2. Lay out a solution
  3. Adjust to the audience
  4. Demand Action

Grab the attention

Mastering influence is the ultimate goal of entrepreneurs, companies, customers, and job applicants. You must grab your listener’s attention by capturing their imagination. A tagline is a terrific means to arousing interest. An example is, “We are the XYZ of the widget industry.” Your tagline should be comprised of your core purpose and grab your audience’s attention. A short way of communicating the benefits you are revealing to your audience is essential to captivating your listeners. A straightforward description of your services, products or skills delivered in 30 seconds or less is the ideal length of your message.

“To me, elevator pitches are like really good movie trailers. They leave you wondering, wait, what else? I need to see that, be a part of it. Whomever you are talking to is roped into your project. Funny thing for me is that my most successful pitches have been during unexpected encounters and not formal presentations.” - Jeanne Dasaro, North End Stories

Lay out a solution

You must solve a problem for your audience if you are to be deemed relevant. Consequently, your elevator pitch must be a solution that resolves a primary need. Customers have desires and are seeking fulfillment. Hence, successful companies position themselves in a manner that allows consumers to see the company as the answer to a nagging problem that must be addressed.

Adjust to the audience

Your pitch should be flexible enough for you to change its emphasis according to the audience that you're addressing. By asking qualifying questions, you can tailor your elevator pitch to the individual needs of your listener.

"As a telecommunications specialist I have to deal with the design, installation, and maintenance of various communication systems. Often my assignments would focus on telephone systems. However, with the rapid advancement of technology, I would need to ask questions to see if a client or customer needed help with the servicing of a cellular, video and/or digital communication system." – Thomas Sherman, Telcom Engineer

Demand Action

What do you want your audience to do when you finish your elevator pitch? An effective elevator pitch will entice the listener to act. A request for another meeting or an opportunity to showcase your product and/or services is the perfect ending to your elevator pitch. Your call to action should show your passion. While it is never appropriate to end your elevator pitch asking for a job, it is important to end in a way that prompts a continued conversation.

We live in a world that identifies toil and output as the fountainheads of righteousness. Thus, most audiences are busy and distracted. As a result, in order to stand out from the steady hum of activity it is imperative that we present our audiences with information that is concise and compelling. A GLAD elevator pitch will enable a company or job seeker to connect with an audience. Your elevator pitch is a way to lay a foundation of mutuality that creates the potential for a long-term relationship.

Lennox Chase is an attorney that sits on the board of directors for Needham Bank. Attorney Chase is also the founder of MyBarPrep, a tutoring company for lawyers and law school students.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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