unlock hidden, untapped and unrealized potential

How to give a perfect elevator pitch in 15, 30, or 60 seconds [TEMPLATES]

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on Nov. 29, 2017


The elevator pitch.

The perfect balance of precision and persuasion.

I’ve always wanted to be that strategic speaker who could pitch anything in 30 seconds and motivate my audience to action.

But I could never quite figure out how to condense my message to a clear, concise statement. There were always too many important points to communicate.

Even when I managed to choose, I was always afraid that I’d miss something critical, so I’d slide in a few extra points to be safe.

Then one day I was interviewing to be an instructor for a supply chain. A good friend had recommended me, and introduced me as the perfect fit.

So I got on a call and confidently pitched what I thought was my impressive list of qualifications and accomplishments.

When I finished the response was polite, but uninterested:

“Um. Yes. It would have been more helpful if you told me what you can do for me.”

Ouch.

I was a brand new consultant with a strong recommendation, and I couldn’t even pitch myself for a job that I should have been perfect for.

That advice changed everything.

I learned first hand that an elevator pitch is NOT telling someone:

“Here’s what I can do.”

Instead, a great elevator pitch helps my audience picture:

“Here’s how your life will be transformed if you choose me."

I changed the way I pitched, and it made a huge difference in my confidence and success.

Since then I’ve created templates to help people pitch any concept simply and persuasively, in as few as 15 seconds.

BONUS DOWNLOAD: Need to work on your introduction? Get my guide to “5 Perfect Introductions in 20 Words or Less”. Click here to download.

Pitching is an essential communication tool

Today’s audiences are multitasking and attention deficit. They’ll give you just a few seconds of undivided attention, and if you don’t interest them, they’ll tune out.

An elevator pitch is no longer a nice-to have skill, or something just for startups.

It’s a critical communication tool for a world where no one has time to listen.

If you only have seconds to sell a new-to-the world concept, bust a long standing myth, or inspire people to action, you need to know how to give a perfect elevator pitch.

Here are your essential elevator pitch guidelines

  1. The objective of an elevator pitch is to attract and intrigue

    I used to think that an elevator pitch was a cut down version of a presentation or a sales proposal, so I tried to educate or sell in 30 seconds.

    That’s what led me to overwhelm people with a rapid stream of facts, figures and options.

    Then I learned to think of a pitch as a movie trailer with the purpose to capture interest without giving away details.

    And I changed the way I pitched to give just enough insight to peak interest.

    Finally. Success. People started saying, "Tell me more."

    You only have seconds to capture your audience’s attention. When you make your goal to intrigue, you'll earn more time to be specific.

  2. Tell them you understand what’s important to them

    The breakthrough moment with your audience is when they think, “That’s right.” or “That’s me.”

    That’s the moment when you build trust.

    In fact studies show you can build instant rapport by making a connection that important to your listener.

    An elevator pitch is only 15, 30 or 60 seconds long. Why would you waste precious time talking about YOU, when you could be talking about what’s important to THEM.

    Once your audience knows you identify and empathize with what’s critical to them, you'll be invited to start talking about yourself.

  3. Focus on ONE

    An elevator pitch is tiny slice of time.

    That’s not enough time explain multiple options.

    Keep it simple and focused.

    Follow what Copyhackers calls the rule of one, and focus one of the following

    • One BIG idea you have
    • One barrier you can overcome
    • One promise you’re making


    When your audience is hooked on your first point, they'll be ready to ask about other points.

  4. Help them picture how their life will be different

    When I was a new consultant, I used to list my qualifications to impress my audience, and assumed they would instantly understand how I added value.

    I would talk about my 25+ years of experience, the brands that I covered, the countries I lived in, and the different parts of the supply chain that I had managed.

    It was quite a long list.

    But it didn’t tell them how I could help them.

    Now I give 1-3 examples of how their life will change.

    For example, here’s how I can help new entrepreneurs as a communication consultant:

    • I can teach you how explain your value proposition in 20 words or less
    • I can show you how to pitch your brand new business and attract your first customers fast

    If you're a new entrepreneur, you can picture what will be different when we work together.

    Explaining how you add value leads to more engagement such as: “Tell me about your background.”

  5. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Pitching is hard.

    It's hard enough to write an elevator pitch, but it's even harder to say when you're under pressure. That's why practicing is critical so that your pitch feels natural to you.

    After you write it out, then start saying it out loud. It might sound awkward, and you may need to adjust it. That's normal.

    When you've worked with it for a while, practice in front of a friend or colleague, and get their feedback. Then practice some more.

    Practice out loud, practice watching yourself in the mirror, or try recording yourself. Practicing builds your mental muscle memory, and it works!

    When you can deliver it smoothly, try it out in real life, and continue to make adjustments.

    Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Practice makes your pitch, perfect.

Ready to give an elevator pitch?

Here are templates you can use to give a perfect pitch in 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

Note: These are just templates. Feel free to modify them to make them work for you. You can switch elements if it makes sense - for example, instead of a call to action, you can state the reason to believe. I used my communication consulting introductions as examples.

Got 15 seconds? Explain how their life will be different

Say your name and role

  • I'm Rebecca Okamoto and I'm a communication coach

Give your value proposition or personal brand headline in 20 words or less

  • I help people master clear, concise communication

Explain 1-3 things to help them picture how their life will change

  • I teach them to introduce themselves in 20 words or less
  • Give a perfect elevator pitch
  • And tell more memorable and compelling stories


Got 30 seconds? Give them a reason to believe

This one's easy. Just expand on your introduction above, and give them some proof. Yes, you're becoming more detailed, but you're still staying focused on your value proposition or personal brand.

Say your name and role

  • I'm Rebecca Okamoto and I'm a communication coach

Give your headline or value proposition in 20 words or less

  • I help people master clear, concise communication

Explain 1-3 things to help them picture how their life will change

  • I teach them to introduce themselves in 20 words or less
  • Give a perfect elevator pitch
  • And tell more memorable and compelling stories

Give them an example, data, qualification or story as a reason to believe

  • I specialize strategic communications, and I work with people who have something important to say, but struggle to say it. My workshops are based what I’ve learned helping startups pitch successfully in as few as 5 minutes


Got 60 seconds? LINK your solution to achieving their gain point or solving their pain point

This elevator pitch is a little different. You have a bit more time to pitch, so first communicate you understand what's important to your audience by identifying and empathizing with their pain point or gain point. Then focus on your value proposition or your personal brand.

Say your name and role

  • I'm Rebecca Okamoto and I'm a communication coach

Give your headline or value proposition in 20 words or less

  • I help people master clear, concise communication

Identify and empathize with your listener’s pain or gain point

  • We work in a multi-tasking, attention deficit world. These days people will only give you 8 seconds of undivided attention before they tune out. Sadly, you have a better chance of engaging with a goldfish than the person next to you.

    How can you win new clients, pitch a breakthrough idea, or motivate your organization, if no one is paying attention?

Clarify what you do

  • I show professionals step-by-step, how to capture attention, and hold interest, and boost their influence and impact.

Explain 1-3 things to help them picture how their life will change

  • People learn to introduce themselves in 20 words or less
  • Give a perfect elevator pitch
  • And tell more memorable and compelling stories

End with a call to action

  • I work with corporations, professional networks and entrepreneurs, and offer a variety of programs. And I'd be happy to schedule a free demo, or have you attend a webinar.


Now you have a perfect elevator pitch for every occasion

Say goodbye to talking too fast, rambling, or going over the allotted time.

It won't matter if you're riding the elevator up 30 floors, or walking from the elevator to the conference room, you'll be able to quickly and confidently pitch your value and how you can help.

And don't be surprised if they ask YOU for more time.



FEATURED DOWNLOAD

Want to keep the templates handy? Click the picture to download your templates.



Photo / Gideon Tsang / Elevator

elevator


« Previous Article More The Career Toolbox Articles
All Articles