Major Key Alert: How to Craft the Perfect 30-Second Elevator Pitch

Many entrepreneurs struggle to deliver the perfect elevator pitch. If only you could present yourself and your credentials compellingly, you could make a connection, establish an opening, or spark a listener’s interest in an idea of yours. Imagine if that executive you’d love to work for (or partner with) was literally in an elevator with you, what would you say?

To begin, realize that your elevator pitch will be a culmination of several pieces of information that describe who you are and what you’re working toward. Your goal will be to piece these bits of information together as seamlessly as if you were speaking naturally to a friend or partner.

How to Craft the Perfect 30-Second Elevator Pitch

First, the question you’re going to want to answer is, “Who are you?” As silly as it sounds, you must begin by introducing yourself, beginning by stating your first and last name. After you state your first and last name, you’ll want to give your listener a little bit of background information. Depending on the situation, you might mention where you go to college or where you work currently. After you introduce yourself, explain and provide context. It may be the case that no one has heard of your college or company at which you work. Therefore, help them out by giving context clues, such as your college or work location and a summary of the strengths associated with it. There is no need to share anything more at this point, including your motive for choosing a certain college or the path it took you to find your current place of employment. Your listener will be able to paint a clear picture of who you are based on this tidbit of background information alone.

Next, get to the point by making the connection between what you do currently and what your listener does. How do your interests align? What do you have to offer in that context? Don’t pre-rehearse your script to the point that it can be pitched to anyone. If you engage in that sense, oftentimes, you’ll talk past your listener. The reality is that whenever you’re pitching, you’re talking to an individual, whether it’s someone in an elevator standing next to you or whether you’re pitching an idea to a professor in a classroom. You want to induce a connection factor right away. What are you trying to accomplish? How would you expect your listener to respond? Connect to whom you’re talking to on the basis of what you have to offer, which is, sometimes, yourself.

The last tidbit of information you want to incorporate into your elevator pitch is your offer, which represents the “asking” portion of your spiel. This is the scary part because asking for something involves being vulnerable to rejection. However, no one wants to sit through an elevator pitch, only to discover that the deliverer doesn’t have a clear idea of what’s being offered or asked for. If you want your listener to be your mentor or to invest in your business, ask them just that. If, perhaps, you’re unsure about what you want, ask about simply making a connection and to stay in touch. Follow up by inquiring about whom the right person to contact is, then get that person’s contact information, and finally, thank your listener.

After you receive a response, close out. Typically, you should plan your exit strategy in advance. Regardless of what your listener has said or how they’ve responded, always kill them with kindness, and plan to close out in a very pleasant way. Remind them that you’ll be sure to stay in touch or follow up soon.

The more you can hone your ability to share your credentials and expertise in creative ways, the more you can impress prospective contacts, partners, or future investors. If you adhere to the main principles of the elevator pitch and practice often, your delivery will become second nature to you.