ElevatorPitchEssentials.com > Elevator Pitch Essentials > Executive Summary


Home | Book | Buy | Speaking | Services | Elevator Pitch 101 | Essays | Blog

Executive Summary

It doesn’t matter what you are selling; maybe it’s an idea for a new business, an existing product or service, or a project. It also doesn’t matter who you are selling it to; maybe they are an investor, a potential customer, or a potential client. In order to have a chance of closing the deal, you first need the audi­ence to listen to what you have to say.

Unfortunately, few people realize that getting the audience to listen to what you have to say is much harder than it looks.

The problem is that people are busy. Just like you, they have too much to do and too little time to get it all done. What’s more, it never fails that the more potentially helpful someone is, the busier they are likely to be. If you want to be successful, you need to take this problem seriously; you need to figure out how to communicate your message in a way that will catch the attention of someone who has 17 other things on their mind.

You need an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea, product, service, project, per­son, or other Solution to a problem and is designed to just get a conversa­tion started. An elevator pitch is designed to quickly catch the attention of the audience, persuade them to pay attention to what you have to say, and convince them that they want to hear more. An elevator pitch does this by answering basic -– but all too often overlooked –- questions like…

  • What is it?
  • Who needs it?
  • Why do they need it?
  • WhoRU to see the problem and to build the solution?

Just as importantly, an effective elevator pitch leaves for later the details about HOW your Solution works.

People are Busy

Just like you, people are busy; they have too many things to do and too little time to get them all done. What’s more, it never fails that the more potentially helpful someone is, the busier they are likely to be.

You are Different

The audience is unlikely to be as interested in, or as knowledgeable about, your Solution as you are. As a result, you must ease them into it.

The Nine C’s

An effective elevator pitch is nine things.

1. Concise

An effective elevator pitch contains as few words as possible, but no fewer (and no more than 250 words).

2. Clear

Rather than being filled with acronyms, MBA-speak, and ten-dollar words, an effective elevator pitch can be understood by your grand­parents, your spouse, and your children.

3. Compelling

An effective elevator pitch explains the problem your Solution solves.

4. Credible

An effective elevator pitch explains why you are qualified to see the problem and to build the solution.

5. Conceptual

An effective elevator pitch stays at a fairly high level and does not go into too much unnecessary detail.

6. Concrete

As much as is possible, an effective elevator pitch is also spe­cific and tangible.

7. Consistent

Every version of an elevator pitch conveys the same basic message.

8. Customized

An effective elevator pitch addresses the specific interests and concerns of the audience.

9. Conversational

An effective elevator pitch is designed to just start a conversation with the audience.

Go Easy on the Hype

While it is important to appear enthusiastic and confident, you do not want to look naļve or, worst of all, make your Solution sound too good to be true.

Don’t get Lost in the How

Instead of focusing on the topic you love and are the most comfortable talk­ing about – HOW your Solution works – you must first answer more basic questions like “WHAT is it?”, “WHO needs it?”, “WHY do they need it?”, and “WHORU to see the problem and build the solution?”

Start with a Summary Sentence

When you first start talking to someone, it is critically important that you make a good first impression and set the stage for a more detailed discus­sion of your Solution. The way to do that is to begin your elevator pitch with a summary sentence of 25 words or less. Below is a template that I have found to be very effective for structuring a summary sentence.

COMPANY NAME is a TYPE OF COMPANY and has developed a PRODUCT CATEGORY that is KEY BENEFIT(S) than existing solutions (like CHIEF COMPETITORS).

Explain What’s Wrong with the State of the Art

Experienced investors won’t back a Solution In Search Of A Problem (SISOAP), so you must be sure to explain what will drive people to change and adopt your Solution.

Memorize it and Rehearse it

Because you will use your elevator pitch everywhere, you should memo­rize it and rehearse it. That will ensure that people receive a consistent mes­sage. It will also help you look and feel more confident.


When delivering an elevator pitch, listening is just as important as talking. One way to judge the effectiveness of your elevator pitch is to pay attention to the first question the audience asks.

Copyright Notice
This document is copyright © 2009 Chris O'Leary and the LIMB Press LLC. It is licensed for personal use only. Any organizational or institutional use must be approved by Chris O'Leary.

about | contact | copyright | chrisoleary.com