Essential Tips for Writing an Effective Elevator Pitch

Illustration of diverse characters waiting for elevators.

Nadia Bormotova / Getty Images 

An elevator pitch can be a powerful tool for marketing your business, and once you have it created, you can use it over and over again in many different settings. Here are nine tips for making your elevator pitch a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox.

Keep It Short and Sweet

It's called an elevator pitch for a reason; you have a limited time to make a good first impression. Craft an elevator pitch that takes you about 60 seconds to deliver at a good pace, or includes roughly 150-250 words.

Edit Ruthlessly

An effective elevator pitch is like a work of art, and as the artist, you may feel that there is always room for improvement. This is a good perspective to have because the more you can look at your elevator pitch with a critical eye, the more will you be able to improve it with each edit.

Skip Industry Jargon

Assume your audience has no understanding of your industry, the services you provide, or the products you sell. You want to be able to use your elevator pitch in front of anyone and know that they will understand what you do by the time you're finished, even if they have never even heard of your industry before.

Say It in a Mirror

An elevator pitch on paper is very different from one said out loud. Read your elevator pitch in your head, read it out loud, then recite it in a mirror to make sure it flows and sounds conversational. It's usually a good idea to run it by a colleague, friend, or family member, too, to get a fresh perspective.

Memorize It and Practice

You won't have the benefit of a cheat sheet when you're in a live situation, so memorizing your elevator speech is vital. The challenge is learning it by heart but still being able to deliver it naturally and not robotically. The more you practice delivering your elevator pitch, the easier it will be to sound conversational and relaxed.

Show Your Passion

The best elevator pitches are those that are memorable, unique, engaging, and lead to further conversation. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by showing the passion you have in what you do. Show your fire and the passion can be contagious.

Create Multiple Flavors

If you follow a step-by-step elevator pitch formula, it's easy to substitute new information to change your elevator pitch to fit any audience. Once you're comfortable editing, rearranging, and substituting, you can create a few different versions ahead of time, or substitute in the most relevant information possible on the fly.

Identify Your Desired Action

Just as you do with all of your other marketing activities, include a call to action at the end of your elevator pitch. Outline what you want to happen next, whether it's giving the other person a chance to ask you questions, introducing you to a colleague, or scheduling a time to talk in more detail.

Pass the Mic

You've put a lot of time into your elevator pitch, so it will be a big relief once you've delivered it successfully. But don't forget about the person on the receiving end. The best way to transition from a successful elevator pitch to a successful conversation is giving the other person a chance to wow you with their own elevator pitch.