The Ultimate Elevator Pitch – 30 Seconds to Make a Powerful First Impression

Attending an auction, I walked through the house one last time before bidding started. I was mentally placing my furniture when another buyer walked in. A full 3 seconds later the realisation hit me. Right there in front of me was the Chief Information Officer whose gatekeeper I hadn’t been able to bypass. We had been introduced by one of his people but it had gone no further. I impulsively called his name and as he turned, I smiled, stuck out my hand and introduced myself saying our paths had crossed in business. He smiled politely not remembering me at all, “oh, yes of course. What is it you do”? And there was my elevator moment. True story!

Your moment arrives, your chance of a lifetime, face to face with your ideal client and you have roughly 30 seconds to make a powerful first impression to say something that communicates exactly what you do interestingly enough so that they want to know more. It’s called the Elevator Pitch, except I wasn’t in an elevator which taught me something else; the elevator pitch can be used anywhere, anytime to garner interest, make connections, start a conversation, kick off the sales process or simply to introduce yourself and your business in a highly professional manner rather than a strangled aargh, um I’m uh, you know, like…um, guaranteed to end any encounter before it begins.

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7 Keys to the ultimate elevator pitch

  1. The elevator pitch is a sound bite only to start a conversation, not your whole business plan. 30 seconds max.
  2. It all about them, it’s not about you. Tell them WHO you help and the ISSUES they are dealing with and WHAT they get from working with you.
  3. No waffle. Be short, sharp, pithy. Make every word count.
  4. No How’s or processes that you will follow. That comes much later.
  5. Prepare a number of different versions, corner unsuspecting colleagues, friends, family and try them out to get feedback on which one is best.
  6. Rehearse it until it rolls off your tongue fluently.
  7. Refine as the business, goals or target market changes.

5 Questions to developing your Elevator Pitch

  1. Who do you help through your work? e.g leaders, executives and their teams
  2. What qualifies them to work with you? e.g in blue chip organizations
  3. What service do you actually perform? e.g simplify their business communications
  4. What’s the chief result you attain for your client? e.g clarity, impact and memorability of key messages
  5. Why is that result important to them? e.g makes it easy for their stakeholders to make more favourable business decisions.

Now put it all together…

I work with leaders, executives and their teams in blue chip organizations simplifying their business communications. This boosts clarity, impact and memorability of key messages making it easy for their stakeholders to make more favourable business decisions.

And yes I got the business. Neither of us bought the house.

Jennifer Burrows

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Jennifer Burrows is a highly experienced Pitch Consultant and Presentation Skills Coach advising corporate organizations on their internal and external communications. Her coaching and facilitation experience extends to senior leaders and executives across Australia, New Zealand and the USA in both the public and private sectors.

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