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Let’s Talk: Crafting an effective elevator pitch

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Crafting an effective elevator pitch is crucial for seizing opportunities.

It’s like having a key to unlock doors to potential collaborations, investments, or partnerships. Being able to succinctly communicate your idea can make all the difference in capturing attention and getting results.

If you’ve ever found yourself stumbling over your words or failing to convey your idea clearly, don’t worry – it’s a common challenge. But with practice and some key strategies, you can refine your pitch to be concise, compelling, and impactful.

Let’s delve into some expert tips on crafting that perfect elevator pitch!

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Alan Manly, CEO of CampusQ and author of The Unlikely Entrepreneur

Alan Manly, CEO of CampusQ and author of The Unlikely Entrepreneur

“An elevator pitch is like any other craft. The skill comes from the thinking through your goal of the job at hand. My goal is to effectively introduce myself and my product, get a person’s name and open the opportunity to follow up after the elevator pitch.  I still use a business card as my prop. I say my name, offer my card and say that I am with “XX” which is an XX company specialising in “XX”. The details of our services are on the back of the card.  I then ask “what do you do?”. After listening I ask for their card or details. I usually get a card or a scan or link with their details.  Next day, I follow up confirming having met them at a function, to remind them who I am, and seek further interaction. After many years I can say that when I follow up a new contact I always get a polite response giving me an opening to present my product.”

Lisl Pietersz, Solopreneur, Communications and Transition Coach at University of Sydney Business School and AGSM at University of NSW

Lisl Pietersz, Solopreneur, Communications and Transition Coach at University of Sydney Business School and AGSM at University of NSW

“An elevator pitch can be crafted for a variety of settings. As a communications and transition coach here is my winning formula to craft a memorable career elevator pitch. The structure of the pitch can be adapted for professional networking, job seeking, interviewing, sales opportunities, or your online profiles:

Introduce yourself: Start by outlining your area of expertise and the customer problem you solve. Avoid buzz words.

Showcase your value: Highlight the value you bring when solving a key customer problem within your industry. What evidence supports this?

Share your point of difference: What is your secret sauce, or a key strength or gift that makes a difference to what you do?

State your call to action: Emphasise what you seek at the end of your elevator pitch. This could be as simple as re-stating the value you provide.

“Once your pitch is crafted, deliver it with authenticity and confidence. A useful tip is to practise your pitch in front of a mirror or record yourself on a smartphone or laptop to review later. Ideally, seek feedback from a trusted contact.”

Rob Malkin, Senior Regional Director of ANZ at Bentley Systems

Rob Malkin, Senior Regional Director of ANZ at Bentley Systems

“Whether you are pitching an idea to a potential partner, customer, or your own team, finessing your elevator pitch is a way for you to crystalize exactly why your proposal matters. An elevator pitch works on the assumption that you have only got one shot to give a quick overview of what, why, and how. Though any business proposal will be mulled over, delivering a strong pitch separates the hype from the facts and boils the idea down to the most critical elements.

“To craft an effective pitch, start by determining the objective and the audience. Why does this idea matter to you, and what’s in it for the other party? It is important to be transparent and realistic, as a pitch is a gateway to a long-term partnership. Therefore, the foundation of the pitch must be mutual understanding and trust. Adding the “why now” element is another critical aspect to get your proposal over the line, as it helps create relevancy and urgency for the idea.

“While an effective elevator pitch is based on being concise and direct, do not forget that it also needs to capture the attention of your audience. Make sure that you begin and end strong to create a lasting impression.”

Sally McKibbin, Career Expert at Indeed

Sally McKibbin, Career Expert at Indeed

“Strong elevator pitches are vital in recruitment, both for the job seeker and the recruiting employer. When applying for a role, job seekers are encouraged to keep their CVs concise, their cover letters succinct, and to be able to pitch themselves in a short interview. But when aiming to attract top talent, employers need their own elevator pitch ready to answer the question: “Why should I want to work here?”.

“Employers who can clearly summarise their business, describe the available job opportunity, and articulate their organisation's core beliefs and culture – touching on values, team dynamics, or perks and benefits – will ensure potential candidates have a clear and realistic understanding of what working for their organisation entails. Just as job seekers aim to demonstrate the value they can bring to a company; employers must also convey why their company is an attractive place to work.

“In today’s dynamic hiring landscape, mastering the art of the elevator pitch is essential for employers aiming to attract top talent into their organisation.”

Nathan Schokker, Owner & Founder at Wave CRM

Nathan Schokker, Owner & Founder at Wave CRM

“Practice will and can make perfect (or at least, much better). First things first, your pitch must tackle the problem you’re solving, not selling the widget you’re trying to flog. Speak to their pain for reaction.

“Fewer words often spark greater interest (but not too few, or your aloof and uninterested), and can avoid dreaded glazing over of eyes and minds if you dive deep on too much uninteresting detail. Have one clear example of client work up your sleeve, people often understand best in actions taken and delivered, not in hypotheticals and theory.

“Embrace exaggerated language, yet avoid buzzword and complex or industry jargon. The words: love, hate, kill, engage, explode, each spark clear emotions and reactions and shaped well don’t feel over exaggerated or worn out.

“Now, get out and network and pitch this dozens, or hundreds, of times. No matter how great in your head it feels and sounds, when you speak the words, your rhythm, tone, cadence and delivery will affect them and start to form its best muscle memory. Embrace and learn from it, you’re well on your way now!”

Karlie Taylor, Head of Marketing at SHOPLINE Australia

Karlie Taylor, Head of Marketing at SHOPLINE Australia

“Crafting an effective elevator pitch is essential for making a lasting impression in a short amount of time. Start by clearly defining the problem you solve, and who you solve it for (i.e. your target audience). Continue with how you actually do it, including a brief overview of your solution or product, emphasising its unique features or benefits.

“Next, provide specific examples or anecdotes to illustrate your points and make your pitch more memorable.

“Your pitch should succinctly communicate who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Keep it concise and engaging, focusing on the most compelling aspects of your offering. Use language that is clear, compelling, and easy to understand. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse your listener.

“Finally, end with a CTA that prompts further engagement or invites follow-up questions. Be prepared to adapt your pitch depending on the context, situation, or your current audience.”

Kathryn Britt, Group Client Manager at BBS Communications Group

Kathryn Britt, Group Client Manager at BBS Communications Group

“The ability to describe yourself or your brand in less than 30 seconds is useful, however you need to emotionally connect to your audience for your elevator pitch to be effective. Your interaction must be memorable and leave people wanting to know more – including how your brand could solve their pain points.

Keep it brief. No more than 30 seconds. That’s about three or four sentences when written.

Consider your audience. Are they new to you/your business/your sector? Then you’ll need to describe it. If they’re familiar with your brand, what’s a pain point that might resonate with them?

Don’t leave out your key point of difference. What is the most interesting/important message you want to get across? Did you include it?

Ensure a confident delivery. First impressions count. If it’s written, ensure proper punctuation. In person, speak clearly, confidently and passionately – passion enthuses people and brings them along for the ride. The more practice you have, the better.

End with an appropriate ask. End with a call to action like ‘I’d love to share some ideas with yo’”, ‘let’s connect on LinkedIn’ or ‘our website has great resources that might be useful for you’.”

Alexandra Stewart, Founder of Centre For Cancer Nutrition & Cancer Cookery School

Alexandra Stewart, Founder of Centre For Cancer Nutrition & Cancer Cookery School

“To effectively craft my elevator pitches, I think of them as 30 second stories starting with a hook. I use the problem, solution, result method set out by Donald Miller. You want to effectively communicate the problem or issue your customer faces, how your business addresses it, and the positive outcome the customer can expect after they do business with you. It needs to be to the point. People zone out after a few seconds of noise but keeping your message clear will maintain their attention. Choose your words carefully because every word needs to serve a purpose in the story. Nobody wants to hear about how you started the company – it doesn’t add value to the listener or to the story. When someone asks, “What do you do?”, rather than saying, “Well, it’s complicated…” include the above elements to craft an elevator pitch someone will remember. Mine goes like this, “Chemo changes how food tastes for cancer patients, and adds stress to an already harrowing time. At Centre For Cancer Nutrition, our carefully crafted recipes combat taste changes from chemo, bringing the enjoyment of food back to its pre-chemo glory and restoring a sense of normality to life.”

Donny Walford Managing Director of Behind Closed Doors

Donny Walford Managing Director of Behind Closed Doors

“An elevator pitch is the first impression you leave on others so it’s important to leave a memorable and positive impact.

“An elevator pitch is a concise, impactful summary of your business that you deliver in the time it takes to get from one floor to the ground floor in an elevator, typically 10 to 60 seconds. Crafting a compelling elevator pitch is essential for entrepreneurs seeking to capture interest, pitch for funding, or grow customers. The key steps include:

Define Your Objective: Understand the purpose of your pitch, whether seeking investment, a potential partner, or a new customer. Tailor your message to your objective.

Explain What You Do: Clearly describe what your business does; your why. Focus on the problem you solve or the need you fulfill. Ensure your pitch is easily understandable.

Communicate Your Unique Selling/Value Proposition: Highlight what makes your business unique. This could be your innovative approach, competitive edge, or the value you provide.

Ask Good Questions: Make your pitch interactive by incorporating thought- provoking questions. This encourages two-way communication and makes your pitch memorable and impactful.

Practice Your Pitch: Practice your pitch to ensure its professional, persuasive, natural and engaging.”

Nina Thomas, Founder & Director at Harmonic Advisory

Nina Thomas, Founder & Director at Harmonic Advisory

“Crafting an effective elevator pitch is really simple if you have a formula to follow. The hard part is practicing it and delivering it with confidence.

“The formula I recommend is: 1. I’m a specialist in _______   2. We/I help _(types of businesses)__ businesses to __(grow, transform, cut costs etc.)___   3. We __(list problems you solve)__ 4. We do this by __(explain what you do)_____.

“I know this can be really hard to do on your own, so we have a free, fully automated elevator pitch chatbot on our Profile Builder website. It runs you through this process and instantly emails you a fully scripted elevator pitch. You can use it as often as you like and create a pitch tailored to each sector you operate in. Then practice it daily so it becomes natural.

“Once you’ve done that, create a 10 second version, such as “We basically specialise in helping clients grow by creating go-to-market strategies that attract more deals, more revenue, more often.

“The best way to generate engagement in your pitch is to finish by asking the person you’re talking to a question. For example: Are you currently dealing with this in your business?

“Then get out there and start pitching.”

Anjani Amriit, Conscious Leadership and Women’s Empowerment Expert

Anjani Amriit, Conscious Leadership and Women’s Empowerment Expert

“Ninety Nine percent of people just want to feel heard and be happier.

“All effective elevator pitches are founded on this understanding.

“Imagine meeting a potential client at a networking event. Instead of diving into a sales pitch, you ask them about what is making them unhappy. They may say, ‘struggling with work-life balance and feeling unfulfilled.’

You reflect this back to them so they feel heard, then share not what you do, but how you can help them feel happier.

“My top three tips for crafting a compelling elevator pitch are:

Hear their problem: Lead with the key specific pain point your audience experiences so they feel heard.

Share how, not what, you do: share how your offering directly solves their problem, making their lives easier or better.

Set your vibe: your energy is contagious. Get into the feeling place of excitement, it will shine through in your pitch.

“My proven formula:

Do you know when [work feels overwhelming?

I help [busy stressed out professionals find balance and sustainable success by aligning work with purpose].

“By following these tips you can create an elevator pitch that not only captures attention but also resonates deeply with your audience.”

Kathryn Goater, Co-CEO, Co-Founder and PR Director at Media-Wize

Kathryn Goater, Co-CEO, Co-Founder and PR Director at Media-Wize

“You get less than a minute to grab your audience’s buy-in during your elevator pitch – so always start with your why.

“One of the most common mistakes we hear in media training sessions comes when we ask spokespeople to give us their elevator pitch. Often, we hear the company description – a factual and robotic statement that sounds like it is being regurgitated from marketing copy. What the company does and how it does it is important, but there’s rarely any mention of why the company does it.

“The inspiration that galvanises your purpose is far more engaging and powerful. If your why includes a mission to help improve the planet or benefit people’s lives then it has even more impact. The reason you do what you do is often to overcome a problem or fill a gap in the market.

“Elevator pitches are important for a variety of reasons. If you’re trying to secure media coverage you get under a minute to encourage a journalist to want to find out more. If you get your elevator pitch right, their next question will drill into the what and how. That’s the moment you can take the journalist and their audience deeper into the details.

“It works the same regardless whether it’s investors, partners, customers or team members. Everyone needs an elevator pitch – a pithy summary of why you do it, what benefit it brings to your customers and how you’re different.

“Elevator pitches should be easy to understand, jargon-free and highly accessible, free of technical details. Remember the movie Philadelphia and tell me about it like I’m a three-year-old. You may only get 30 seconds to be memorable, so be ready to make the first impression count.”

Ashford Pritchard, Co-Founder and Director at Kicker Communications

Ashford Pritchard, Co-Founder and Director at Kicker Communications

“The best elevator pitches are both concise and captivating. They capture the heart first and then the head.

“This is because people are emotionally driven and make purchasing decisions based on instincts, not spreadsheets. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, business purchasing decision-making is particularly governed by feelings. After all, a poor choice when buying a household item may waste some money, but a poor choice in a business environment could cost you your job.

“An effective elevator pitches starts with the reason you do what you do, the mission of your business. Then, it’s backed up with proof points: the facts that demonstrate your ability to deliver on this mission and your unique sales proposition. This can be your team, your customers, your scale, your location, your industry knowledge, your technology, your investors.

“Most elevator pitches will fail. Your audience will glaze over and tune out with a polite smile. Don’t be disheartened. Think of it as a powerful filter, one that removes people who are irrelevant to your mission. Those who do respond to your passion for what you do and why you do it, they are the people you want to work with.”

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