Public Relations

6 Steps to the Perfect Elevator Pitch

By Melissa Baratta | On October 21, 2014

Whether you’re a large, well-branded enterprise or a small start-up, having a well crafted, easy to understand elevator pitch is crucial to hooking reporters or new customer leads. If you can’t explain what the company does in 2-3 sentences, chances are you’ll lose your audience’s interest before you get to the important stuff.

There are a couple of mistakes I commonly see with new elevator pitches:
– Trying to cram too much information into the pitch, so the main point gets lost
– Talking in circles – instead of going from A-Z in a clear, concise way, the pitch zig zags and takes a few twists and turns, leaving the audience feeling confused

Anyone can write a great elevator pitch, but it requires thinking critically about what’s important, what you need to convey, and how to do it in a way that will interest your audience. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Think about your goal – are you trying to pitch a reporter, or sell a product to a customer? Your pitch should reflect the audience you are speaking to and only include points relevant to that audience and that goal. Be flexible and adjust your approach slightly if needed based on who you’re talking to.

2. Briefly describe what the company or product does – and focus on the problems it solves or the needs it addresses. For example, if your company provides data security services, don’t go into detail about how the services work and the technology behind them. Simply state what the service is and why it’s needed (e.g., the multitudes of data breaches that happen every year).

3. Also include who your target audiences are and why your company is relevant to them. So for example, instead of simply saying, “We provide data security services,” say “We provide data security services for small to mid-size businesses who are at great risk of data breaches, but don’t have the budget for traditional enterprise-level security systems.”

4. Then provide a bit of detail to make it interesting – if it’s not compelling, who’s going to care? Share a stat or something unique about the company/service.

5. Perhaps most importantly: Keep the pitch to 20-30 seconds – you should be able to explain what the company or product does, and why it matters, in that amount of time. If your pitch is longer than that, the person you’re speaking to might cut you off before you get to the most important points.

After you’ve written your pitch, practice it a couple times until it sounds right. Saying it out loud to someone else is particularly helpful – by gaining the perspective of an outsider, you can remove any points that don’t add value so you can be sure the pitch is as strong as possible.

Melissa Baratta

Melissa is a Senior Vice President at Affect, where she uses her extensive background working with technology and healthcare companies to raise her clients’ brand profiles and position them as thought leaders in their respective industries. As an expert in stakeholder communications, she is adept at helping clients develop creative ways to communicate thoughtfully with their key audiences. Prior to joining Affect, Melissa served as Managing Director for Ricochet Public Relations.