Take Your Elevator Pitch to the Top

3 tips to make your pitch outstanding

This morning when I Googled “elevator pitch,” I got 2.3 million hits. I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more.

If there are more ubiquitous term in entrepreneurial playbook than “elevator pitch,” there aren’t many.

Pitch Your Best Audience Rick Coplin

And almost as ubiquitous as the words, are the places that an entrepreneur might be giving an elevator pitch—and just for the record, most of them are not an elevator.

The environment could be anywhere, a chance encounter or a shared conversation. It could be a planned presentation, a group discussion at a networking event, a reunion (school, family, or otherwise), or on an airplane or a bus. It could be with an investor or your Aunt Molly.

It could be on the phone where there are no body language clues, just tone and silence to go on. It might be two minutes in front of an angel group.

At Rev1 we hear dozens and dozens of elevator pitches every week. Some are good, some are great and some are just plain bad. Here are 3 tips to make yours outstanding.

Your Elevator Pitch is Your Audio Logo

In addition to being your audio logo, your pitch is a vital part of your brand.

Microphone at the Pitch Rick CoplinIt really does start with a line or two. You want to grab attention, educate quickly, and entice. Be excited (but not manic) about what you are saying all for the purpose of continuing the conversation. Balance being confident with being aware of your surroundings and the discussion that is already going on.

The worst possible approach is to try and convey a message without regard for how your audience is reacting. We’re all been stuck in situations with a person who is going to say his or her spiel, regardless. Don’t be the one who makes people roll their eyes and inch away.

Instead, be the entrepreneur who focuses on your listeners’ needs and interests—the entrepreneur who gets people to ask questions.

Versatility Is The Key

Prepare for Success Rick CoplinHave two to three (or more) versions of your elevator pitch ready to roll, pitches that you’ve practiced and are so comfortable with that you can make minor changes on the fly. Develop one main 20-30 second elevator pitch, and then other 30-second lines that you can use depending on whether you are talking to an investor, partner, customer, employee, the media, or some other audience.

The direction of your elevator pitch is consistent—what the company does, the problems your solution solves, but your message to each audience needs to use slightly different words so they can hear what they are listening for.

You want your listener’s response to be, how can I learn more? And you want to be prepared with answers.

Be Reflective

After you pitch, take a few moments to be reflective. A good entrepreneur examines each “elevator pitch” exchange, both during and after. Often entrepreneurs are so eager to get their message across that they don’t take the time to observe what they are saying and how it’s being received.

Decide in advance that you are going to evaluate yourself. If you have a partner or mentor observing, invite their feedback. We are seldom as honest with ourselves as we need to be.

One Thing To Remember

The main thing to remember about an elevator pitch is that you aren’t going to make a sale with it. No one is going to pull out a checkbook. A great elevator pitch simply opens a door to a conversation, and maybe the next meeting.

Yes! Please email me a PDF of “Take Your Elevator Pitch to the Top”

Two Quick Notes

If you want to improve your pitch even further, check out my eBook Pitch Your Best!, available on Amazon.

Subscribers to my newsletter will get a copy of the Pitch Your Best Quick Reference Guide this week.


Rick Coplin






Note: This post Originally appeared on the Rev1 Ventures Blog
Photos Source: Original post

I work alongside emerging companies on business formation, commercialization strategies, and capital planning. My passion is to find, support, mentor, coach, incubate, & fund start-ups engaged in innovative technology businesses.

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