Elevator Pitch

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Definition: Elevator Pitch

What if you just see that the HR who is supposed to interview you in a half an hours’ time is in the same elevator as you are? How would you try to impress him/her in the time during the elevator ride? What would you say that would create a lasting impression in his/her mind and benefit you against your competitors during the interview?

Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso are credited for the origin of this amazing networking technique known as elevator pitch. Elevator pitch as the name suggests is a pitch one uses for oneself, a product or a company in an elevator during the time the elevator is in motion. It is a short summary about a person, a product, a service or a company that is given during the 30seconds to 2 minutes of the elevator ride.

An elevator pitch can break or make the conversation. So, one needs to be very careful while delivering an elevator pitch. The 9C’s of an effective elevator pitch are:

i) Concise- consisting of few words.

ii) Clear- can be understood by anyone and everyone.

iii) Compelling- explanatory.

iv) Credible- importance or significance or need of the pitch.

v) Conceptual- contains only the necessary detail.

vi) Concrete- specific and tangible.

vii) Customized- customized to the audience.

viii) Consistent- conveys the same basic message every time you use one.

ix) Conversational- concentrate on starting the conversation. Making or breaking the deal or getting or not getting the job are the steps further.

There are various methods to design your own elevator pitch. One of the HBR says that following steps be followed:

Step-1 Start with a verbal slap: Start with something very different and meaningful. Something that represents you. Something which the person will be unable to forget for at least few months. The person should feel that there is something unique about you.

Example: Instead of simply saying that you are an architect, you could say you make dreams come into reality.

Step-2 Ask a problem question: Pose a question through which you can connect to them, as well as the answer to the question is something related to your work. May be you will get their attention when you ask such question. Some people might simply nod and say “Hmm”, while some others might share their own experience or views.

Example: If you are into ecommerce, you could ask a question like “Don’t you think that the failure of Snap deal on Flipkart on their special discounts day, has badly affected sales of other ecommerce website too?”

Step-3 Go to the nod able: Say something that forces the person to open his mouth at least now, and say something.

Example: If you are an LIC agent, you could say “These days, due to the nuclear family culture, isn’t it very important for everyone to have a life insurance?”

Step-4 Finish with the curiosity statement: Answer the “What do you do?” question here. Tim David in his HBR says that you could finish with the sentence as:

“I help/teach ___ (ideal client) to ____ (feature) so they can ____ (benefit).

The main thing to be remembered is that the pitch should be authentic and shouldn’t look mugged up. So, before you deliver one, try to practice and improve while you practise.


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