The elevator pitch shouldn't be too hard to write, right?
Yet it has taken me nearly three years as a small-business owner to create mine -- and I'm in public relations and should know better. What finally inspired me to do it: writing an elevator pitch for a friend and client who happens to be in the same networking group I'm in. She's rebranding her company and wanted help explaining at a high level what she does and the value she brings.
In writing my client friend's elevator pitch, I realized I'd put mine off long enough and am happy to report we both have new ones to try out when our business group next meets. If this is a task that's been on your to-do list for too long, here are six tips to get your elevator pitch off the ground floor.
1. Keep it short.
By its moniker, we know the elevator pitch is meant to be brief. What does that look like? Plan for a "speech" that will take you 30 to 60 seconds to deliver. At my business networking group lunches, everyone gets to do so-called "60-second commercials." Nobody is timing them, of course. But I know when I'm rambling and tune out when others do too. Not only do you not want to bore people, you want them to be able to repeat to others who you are and what you do. Write out what you have to say, and then edit it down to the 100 most important words.
2. Practice; read it out loud.
When you read your elevator pitch out loud, you will find where you stumble or aren't comfortable. You'll hear if it really sounds like you. You can also time yourself to make sure your delivery lands between 30 seconds and a minute. Know that when you give it in person you might tend to rush it or go slower -- and accommodate for that in your writing. Practice it to the point where you have it memorized, which shouldn't be too hard if you followed the first tip.
3. Try it out on a friend or partner.
Now you are ready to try out your elevator pitch on a friendly audience -- a friend, colleague, or partner. Ask them for feedback. What sounded great? Where did they get lost? What needs to be explained better? What could be cut out and reserved for longer conversations? What would they say about you that you maybe didn't include?
4. Revise it.
Back to the writing stage. Revise and practice until you feel confident in your pitch. Maybe go back to your friendly audience again, too.
5. Try it out in public.
Now it's time to take your elevator pitch live. Try it out at your next coffee meeting, business lunch, networking function, or job interview. Reflect later on what felt good and what might need to be tweaked. Also, what resonated with your audience?
6. Revisit it often, and create different versions.
Your elevator pitch is a living document. It's going to change as your career or work continues to evolve. That's OK. That's good. The same way you should always be upgrading your résumé or LinkedIn, you should pay regular attention to your elevator pitch. You might even create different versions for different audiences, occasions, or aspects of your work or business you want to highlight.