Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Helpful Hints For A Successful Elevator Pitch

Imagine Pitching To Your Oldest Living Relative

Mark Twain once said, "The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it."

I recently attended a marketing industry event attended by many new business entrants who were busy networking and touting their company's offerings to anyone who would listen. I had the opportunity to chat with a number of these companies and was on the receiving end of countless elevator pitches. Although I listened attentively to each pitch, I comprehended only about 1 in 10.

What was the problem with the other 9? It didn't matter to these people that "I got it". They were speaking "at me" not "to me". They used jargon I didn't understand and examples I could not relate to. Like Mr. Twain, the more they explained, the worse it got.

Here are some helpful hints on a successful elevator pitch:

  1. Imagine you are speaking to your oldest living relative. If they get it, anyone can.

  2. Qualify your audience before you begin, i.e. background, current knowledge of topic, etc. and customize your story accordingly.

  3. Tell a good story - why you matter in the big scheme of things compared to everybody else.

  4. Speak conversationally and speak slow.

  5. Avoid hyperbole and unsupported claims, i.e "we are the greatest, most innovative, etc.

  6. Minimize industry jargon

  7. Don't bash the competition

  8. Don't use a powerpoint unless requested.

  9. Take and ask questions - do they get it?

  10. Always follow up
Good pitching!