Nailing down a short pitch for why someone should invest in your concept will come in handy at some point, even if you never actually end up in an elevator with the development executive of your dreams. An elevator pitch may be presented in oral, written, and video formats.
An "elevator pitch" is an overview of a concept or project and is often a part of a fundraising, marketing communications, brand, or a public relations program.
The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver an elevator pitch in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.
Venture capitalists often judge the quality of an idea by the quality of its elevator pitch and will ask entrepreneurs for their elevator pitches in order to quickly weed out bad ideas.
Elevator pitches are also used in many other situations. Personal uses include job interviewing, dating, and summarizing professional services. Proposals for a book, screenplay, blog, and other forms of publishing are often delivered via an elevator pitch.
Here are some great tips from people who are masters at "elevator pitching".
Get to Your Point
- “Know what you have to say and say it fast.” — Ben Hughes, Director of Technology at NabeWise
In NabeWise’s case, this includes an explanation of why there is a demand for information about neighborhoods and how the company would monetize this site by charging real estate agents to be “neighborhood experts” and selling advertising.
- “Really brief.” — Patrick Swieskowski, Co-Founder of Ninite
We guess there’s something to be said for practicing what you preach.
Interact as Much as Possible
- Keep people interested in your ideas and don't let them fall to the floor. If you don't show enthusiasm for your own projects, who will?
There’s No Replacement for Finesse
- “Practice, practice, practice on new people every day. You can’t develop an effective pitch by yourself…Everyone in my family has heard my pitch 100 times, and when their eyes glaze over I know that I’m doing something wrong.” — David Bloom, CEO of Naama Networks
Bloom’s current pitch for his online food ordering site mentions that the first e-commerce transaction was a pizza, but that since then restaurants haven’t done a great job selling online. It’s an interesting tidbit that prevents eyes from “glazing over,” as he put it.
- “Go for it. ‘Pretty good’ won’t hack. Pretend you’ll be rated on a scale of one to 10 after your pitch. Only a 10 matters. One through four is a one; you’re done. Five through nine is a five; they might remember you and say ‘interesting,’ but you’re done. Only a 10 is success, and hopefully opens the door to the 10 or 60 minute pitch. It’s not about batting average, it’s about home-runs.” — Bryan Trussel, co-founder and CEO of Glympse.
Glypse is another company that clearly followed its own advice, winning Fred Wilson’s pick at the showcase. Trussel says part of his successful pitch involves interacting as much as possible with the pitch recipient. For instance, he’ll often ask for the person’s phone number and send a Glympse to his or her phone as part of the pitch. “In 10-15 seconds, I’ve demoed the product, illustrated our key values…and had the person interact with our product on their personal phone,” he says. “And, they now have a permanent, visual reminder in their inbox or text queue for reference.”