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The UNITE Elevator Pitch Template
The business world moves fast. Success is often built through contacts and being in the right place at the right time. But it would be inaccurate to say that success is built merely on luck. It takes preparation, too, and one of the most important things to prepare is your elevator pitch.
The concept of the elevator pitch is familiar through many fields and sectors: business, academia, human resources, job interview. The needs of an effective elevator pitch remain the same regardless of your field, though this article will primarily focus on pitching a business plan or other business opportunities. We offer a few tips for formulating your elevator pitch template that you can use at job fairs or to get attention for your new business venture.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a quick synopsis, usually of your background, a business idea, or a project you’re working on (or would like to be). The name comes from the notion that maybe someday, you’ll be stuck on an elevator with someone who can make decisions, and you have the duration of the elevator ride to hit all the important points of your synopsis.
On the one hand, your pitch needs to be a persuasive speech: you want to make a good first impression, spark interest in what you’re doing, and deliver the key points you’ve identified as important. On the other hand, you must keep your pitch short and be able to identify the right audience. It’s a verbal cover letter, of sorts, with a strict word limit that needs to capture the audience’s attention without sounding forced or artificial.
Hopefully, it’s a long elevator ride, but it might not be, so you need to be ready to be concise, precise, compelling, and convincing. It’s a lot to ask of such a small speech.
Why is an Elevator Pitch Important?
A successful elevator pitch introduces yourself and your ideas to potential connections. You probably won’t be in an elevator when it’s time to deliver your pitch–though you might be!–but you’re almost certainly going to face an opportunity to impress someone important someday. And you’ll need to be ready, and you’ll need to be quick.
How to Write an Elevator Pitch
It’s helpful to have multiple elevator pitch examples prepared for different scenarios. Think of making them modular. In other words, have sections of the speech to give the average person the background they need to understand you, but be ready to replace that section if you’re speaking to someone who is more knowledgable.
Focus on writing a 30-second elevator pitch and another one twice as long. Write it down, but don’t feel beholden to that version if the situation calls for something different. A personal elevator pitch is always stronger; write your own elevator pitch and don’t crib one completely off the Internet.
The tone should be positive. Now isn’t the time to talk someone down, but rather, lift up your project and qualifications. Be ready to share your skills and ideas. Be excited without coming off unhinged.
Practice so you sound natural. Remember to speak slowly: when we get nervous, we are far more likely to talk too fast. Keep your pitch conversational: you don’t want to sound like a cheap salesperson or an infomercial shyster.
Watch your body language. Make eye contact. Offer a firm handshake. Have a business card on hand (especially if you’re attending networking events).
The Relationship Between the Elevator Pitch Template and Your Value Proposition
The distinct elements of your value proposition must be front and center of your elevator pitch. In regards to the value proposition, your elevator pitch should have three parts:
- What are you offering to customers?
- How will you reach customers?
- How will you deliver on your promises to customers?
If you only have the opportunity to make a 30-second elevator pitch, that’s where you’ll like end. If you can include an attention-grabbing statistic–perhaps a study that shows a certain percentage of CEOs expressed a need for your product or service–be sure to have one memorized and on hand (in your mind).
If you have the opportunity for something longer than a 30-second elevator pitch, be ready to add some discussion about the benefits your particular value proposition offers.
You can build your elevator speech around these benefits if they are a strength of your value proposition. A good elevator pitch recognizes the situation of its delivery, which means you need to identify if you have the time to go deeply into the specific benefits of your business. And it’s that specificity that really matters.
What benefits really distinguish you from your competitors? Your audience’s attention relies on you making the point that you’re different. After all, why should someone be interested in what you’re doing if someone has already beaten you to the market?
Finally, if you have the time, you can include your experience and how it translates to what you’re proposing. If, for example, you’re developing a new company but bring years of success in that space already, you can include that as a piece of your elevator pitch.
In this case, you are part of your sales pitch. But you need to make sure to distinguish your experience in your elevator pitch, especially if you’re attending networking events or a career fair where other applicants have similar backgrounds to your own.
What can you say about your experience that fits in your elevator pitch and makes your experience stand out? If you have a bachelor’s degree, and if everyone at the event has a similar degree, think about discussing courses you took that are unique, and connect that educational experience to the job opportunity or your business proposal. Perhaps your professional experience is valuable? Maybe you’ve earned an impressive position title. Again, though, focus on what you’ve learned and why what you’ve learned can help add to the value of what you bring customers.
Elevator Pitch Template Examples
Elevator pitches take many forms, but you can work with some standard templates to help write yours. We’d like to suggest the following elevator pitch examples to provide some guidance so you’re ready to take advantage of your next big moment.
The Basic Outline of an Elevator Pitch
A solid, general elevator pitch template looks like this:
- The problem
- The solution
- Delivering value
- Inspire action
Let’s consider full sample elevator pitches built around this outline.
Hello, my name is Juniper Jackson, and I work in the technology office at XYZ Company Incorporated. During this networking event I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how difficult it is for their company to connect with their customers. There are a lot of options for services and strategies, but no way to bring them all together and really track the success of different campaigns. Our company has built a software platform that makes it easy to choose specific messages based on a unique target audience, and then track the customer’s engagement. We offer comprehensive packages and complete customer service and training to help your development and sales teams really gauge how they’re connecting with clients. I’d love to hear more about your company’s needs. Let me give you my business card and I’d love to have one of yours.
Let’s look at how that elevator pitch example matches our template.
- Introduction: “Hello, my name is Juniper Jackson, and I work in the technology office at XYZ Company Incorporated.”
- The problem: “During this networking event I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how difficult it is for their company to connect with their customers. There are a lot of options for services and strategies, but no way to bring them all together and really track the success of different campaigns.”
- The solution: “Our company has built a software platform that makes it easy to choose specific messages based on a unique target audience, and then track the customer’s engagement.”
- Delivering value: “We offer comprehensive packages and complete customer service and training to help your development and sales teams really gauge how they’re connecting with clients.”
- Inspire action: “I’d love to hear more about your company’s needs. Let me give you my business card and I’d love to have one of yours.”
That is an example of a very tight, quick elevator pitch that takes advantage of the context we often face at industry events. Clearly, if you’re delivering a pitch like that, you need to know how the conversations have been developing at the event, and you should have some idea about who is listening to that pitch.
Here’s a longer elevator pitch example that expands on some of the sections but is still discussing a similar product. This is the perfect elevator pitch if you’re going from the lobby to the upper floor.
Hello, my name is Danny Delance. It’s nice to meet you. I heard your question about customer engagement in that last roundtable. I worked on customer engagement a lot when I was studying in the College of Business at the University of Impressive Big City. Now that I’ve graduated, I use what I learned in Dr. Big Shot’s class at XYZ Company Incorporated to help develop our new software platform that helps companies with engagement campaign project management. With it, companies of all types can build custom message decks and track the effectiveness of each outreach efforts. So far, companies that work with us have found they boost the efficiency of their marketing efforts by nearly 30%. They save time, save money, and serve their clients better because they can focus on what makes their company special. Our clients are having great success so far, and we’re always looking for new partners. Can I have your contact information so I can schedule a call to discuss how XYZ can serve meet your company’s needs?
In that example, the speaker expands on experience and benefits while still touching on all the pieces of the elevator pitch template.
Practice reading it out loud. How long does it take? Can you deliver it smoothly, obviously replacing some of the details to match your needs? Does it sound like a sales pitch, or a conversation? A good elevator pitch sounds and feels natural.