Elevator pitch

Making a great elevator pitch is a skill, and a skill can be practiced. With an elevator pitch, as with anything else, it starts with having the right goal in mind, to gather information and the performance state that is relevant.

With any presentation or communication, you may wish to start with the result in mind: What do you want the other person(s) to feel, and do, after hearing you?

The reason for this is that all actions are driven by many things, and emotion will always win over logic. This is to help us survive. If there is a fire, emotion tells us "run".

An elevator pitch is a brief (1-3 minutes) way of introducing yourself, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone. It's called an elevator pitch because it takes roughly the amount of time you'd spend riding an elevator with someone.

When you put together a presentation short enough to deliver in an elevator ride to a stranger, you are forced to focus on what is core.

Do it any way you want, my suggestion is three sentences. Use statistics, logical and emotional arguments to create it.

Catch attention, present yourself, give a compelling argument why they should listen instead of calling the police.

"Hi, I'm Jane, may I ask you a question for a presentation I am preparing? It is about how you can improve your mental and physical health in less than 5 minutes a day."

This is your core message, the proof of your concept, the facts, the possible result.

"I knew this intuitively and then I read an article in the Picayune Times that showed that 55% of people over 30 move less than what is healthy, which creates toxic residues and disconnects the functions of the body from the mind, lowering immune responses and limbic skills. Then when my father got arthiritis and ended up in a wheelchair I signed him up for a Zumba class, and it wasn't easy but now he is walking without a cane."

This is your sum up, urgency plus a call for action.

For example:

"I have no idea if you wish to improve your mental or physical health, but if you are curious you can try dancing just a little tonight when you brush your teeth, who knows, it may change your life."

What you may wish to practice

Once you have the pitch, you need to refine the skill of delivering it:

  1. Find a curious state of "I want to explore this" to be able to learn
  2. Start getting experience, personal "data-points" of what it is like - present to at least three people
  3. Evaluate your presentation to know what to refine, to avoid practicing mistakes - by asking them what they feel
  4. Refine a performance state that is relevant to this skill - presenting as if to a friend is often great.

You may wish to understand these principles:

  • How to structure and tell a story
  • How to make it urgent enough to compel
  • Finding the facts and arguments that support it
  • Understanding metaphor
  • Regulating stress and finding a performance state
  • Delivering authentically and credibly, as if to your best friend
  • Having a call for action or take home message

I created an online resource with what I believe to be basic presentation skills. I share this resource freely and so may you to anyone you believe will benefit.

Link to resource >>

Further Reading