27 Sep Elevator Pitch: The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Presenting Your Pitch.
Elevator Pitch: The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Presenting Your Pitch.
From YMG – The Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency in Chelmsford, Essex.
Imagine you’re in a lift in a posh hotel. Just as the doors are about to shut, in walks Bill Gates. He mentions he wants to invest in a company. You have one shot. What do you say? This is where having an elevator pitch comes in very handy.
Of course, it’s not just Bill Gates that you use your elevator pitch on. Nor do you only use it in a lift. You use it on doubting family members at dinner, your friends, random dinner guests, the bloke you always chat to at the bus stop.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
Your elevator pitch is a short sales pitch that covers who you are, what you do and why someone should buy from you. Whether you’re a business owner, sales person or any other employee, you’ll be asked what your company does.
Elevator pitches usually last around 30-60 seconds. That may seem like a long time, but once you start talking it flies by.
Your pitch needs to be both persuasive but not too pushy. You also need to capture attention and spark imaginations. Worried? Don’t be. We will go through everything you need to know about delivering a killer pitch.
Organising Your Ideas.
Before you even start writing your elevator pitch, let’s start organising your ideas about your company. We will do this using an affinity map.
For this, you will need:
- A stack of sticky notes or note cards.
- A Sharpie or bold felt-tip pen.
- A wall or large table.
We will use the sticky notes or note cards to start by brainstorm ideas about your company.
ATTENTION! STICKY NOTE ETIQUETTE!
Before we start, you must follow these rules:
- One idea per note/card.
- Always write with a thick pen so you can see what you’ve written from afar.
- Peel sticky notes off correctly.
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On with the Affinity Map.
Write down ideas about your company on sticky notes. Your notes can include words that:
- Summarise up your company.
- Describe your products or services.
- Explain your unique points.
- Sum up your company culture.
- Come from customers and reviews.
- Contain key points from your mission statement.
- Outline core company values.
- Show headlines from news articles.
Stick each one on one half of your wall or table. You might want to get other team members to help you. When you’re done, walk away. Have coffee, some lunch or answer a few emails. After 10 minutes or so come back to your notes.
Sort them into groups of ideas. How you sort them depends on the ideas on the wall. We recommend having a ‘strong words’ and ‘must include’ areas.
This is your affinity map. This will help you find the essential parts that you need to include.
Writing Down Your First Draft.
A 60-second speech is about 160 words, depending on the speed of your delivery. Less than the length of a tweet.
For this first draft, don’t worry too much about the word count. Refer your affinity map if you get stuck with ideas, and make sure you include the strong words you pulled out.
Your Elevator Pitch should include:
The Problem You Solve.
All companies solve a problem, whether its solving world hunger or alleviating boredom. Start off your elevator pitch with a statement of what problem you solve and how you solve it.
A Description of Your Company.
Who are you? Are you flying solo or do you have a massive team? Are you a group of friendly, bubbly people or are you more serious? Give the person a quick glimpse into your organisation.
Why You Are Different.
Why should that person buy from you and not your competitor? Why are you different? Is it because you are a friendly face in a crowd of strait-laced businessmen? Perhaps you have expertise in an area your competitors barely touch. Or, maybe you put your customers first in an industry known for “slimy sales practices”.
A Non-Pushy Call-To-Action.
Tell the person what you want out of this pitch. Do you want to book a call with them? Grab a coffee? Do you want them to tell you how they would use their product? Prompt the person into action.
Get a pen and read through your writing. How can you shorten it down? Are there any points that waffle on in your speech? Say it out loud. Does it sound like you?
Continue to rewrite your pitch until you’re happy.
Tips for Writing Your Elevator Pitch.
- Use yes/no questions towards the start of your pitch. A closed question will allow you to get a quick gauge on whether this person is the right audience. “Have you ever experienced back pain?” if the answer is yes, continue with your pitch. An open question makes the mind wander, and they will be distracted from your pitch.
- Keep your pitch as short as possible. If it’s under the 60 seconds, that’s brilliant. The person you need to pitch to may only have a few seconds before having to dart off.
- It must sound like you. You won’t feel comfortable unless you’re speaking in your tone of voice. Ensure you use words and sentences that you would use.
- Create different pitches for different target audiences. If you are a technology company with a complex product, tailor a speech toward both tech-minded and non-technical people.
- Use open questions towards the end. As we said, open questions make the mind wander. Use that to your advantage the end of your pitch. It will trigger any questions the person wants to ask. It may also stick with them once your conversation is over.
- Use power words in your speech to create emotion!
Delivering Your Elevator Speech.
Most people have a fear of public speaking. Unfortunately, in business, you’ll get called to speak a lot. Most networking events have a chance for you to talk to the room. You might get asked to run a seminar at an event. The options are endless.
Never fear. A public speaker is writing this blog. Everyone who works at Your Marketing Guy does public speaking events a lot. You’re in good hands.
Top Tips for Delivery:
Practice as Much as You Can.
Stand in front of the mirror and talk to yourself. It will feel a bit silly at first, but keep going until you feel a little bit comfortable. Try to speak without your script in front of you. You might find yourself improvising, but that’s brilliant. You might come up with something better off the cuff.
Record your practices sessions. Listen back to see how your delivery is getting. The biggest pushback we get from this is the fact that everyone hates the sound of their voice. However, everyone sounds weird on recordings. Especially when the microphones aren’t great.
Show your love for your business. Let the passion for your business come through in your elevator pitch. Smile while presenting. Let yourself get excited about what you are promoting and keep a range of tones in your voice.
It’s OK to Be Nervous.
Stage fright happens to everyone. Adele famously suffers from stage fright, but she still performed to thousands of fans at the O2. Even Laurence Olivier, the UK’s best and most famous stage actor, suffered stage fright sporadically throughout his career. Your first few speeches will be hard, but you’ll get less scared. We promise. Soon, you’ll be a natural, and you won’t be quite so nervous.
Feel like going off script? Do it. Sometimes, when you’re in the moment, the right words come to you. Follow your gut instinct and go for a different approach. Just try not to ramble.
If you’re delivering your speech on stage, slowly wander a few steps around. Moving around gives you energy and keeps the audience’s attention. It also provides a little confidence boost as you feel like you own the stage.
Use Your Hands, but Don’t Overdo It.
Let your hands move while your talking. If you stand with your arms by your sides or gripping your notes in front of your face, you will come across as nervous and a bit wooden. Let your hands flow naturally, and don’t worry about them too much. However, over gesturing can be annoying and distracting.
Know Your Audience.
Do some digging before you start. Find out who is in the room and how you can benefit them. The way you pitch to one demographic is going to be different from another. A group of men over 60 years old aren’t going care that Ariana Grande uses a similar product. Play to your audience as much as you can and use references they will understand.
How to Improve Your Public Speaking.
If public speaking doesn’t come naturally to you, then there are a few ways you can try.
Hire a Public Speaking Coach.
There is a whole industry opening up for teachers of public speaking. Find a local coach to guide you through the process. They can help you polish your script, teach you to speak fluidly and perfect your onstage body language. Some coaches also train you in ‘off the cuff’ speeches, so you can be better at quickly changing your script to fit the room.
Practice Standing up In Front of a Crowd.
Monologue nights are springing up across the country. It’s worth joining one of these groups to help you with standing in front of a crowd. They are designed to help actors prepare for auditions. So, many nights are filled with acting students who are open to helping beginners and giving advice. While you shouldn’t do your elevator pitch, reading a poem or performing a scene in front of a crowd will help with nerves on stage.
YouTube has a vast pool of videos about improving your public speaking and writing great speeches. There are tons of videos out there that can help you.
If you’re more of a reader, Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo is a fantastic resource.
Nailing your elevator pitch is essential. You’re always going to need it. However, the more you practice, the more it will evolve. Practice your elevator speech, then head on to your local networking group to try it out.
YMG are an award-winning and full-service digital marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex, and home of the Jargon Buster series, helping business owners to understand the technical terms of digital marketing.