The classic scenario is this: You and another person step onto an elevator. As the elevator begins to ascend, you peek over at your fellow passenger. Wait, what? That’s [insert influential name here], the person who could unlock everything for you and your business idea.
With your exit floor quickly approaching, you decide to go for it—you’re going to use these 30 seconds the universe has granted you with this person to pitch your proposal.
You’re going to deliver your elevator pitch.
Don’t worry! In this short post, we’re going to walk you through how to write an elevator pitch effectively, including the steps to follow and tips for elevator pitch success.
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What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is essentially a short speech meant to persuade someone to take an action or consider an idea you propose. The goal of an elevator speech could be just about anything, from getting a CEO to consider you for job interviews to pitching your million-dollar idea to a Silicon Valley investor.
The traditional elevator pitch is considered to take 30 seconds or less, about the time it takes for an average elevator ride. In half a minute, the pitch needs to take a stranger and turn them into a believer—meaning it has to be practical, powerful, and personalized.
Goodwall’s “Virtual Elevator Pitch”
Here’s the thing, though: the concept of the elevator pitch has remained relatively unchanged for decades. On top of that, the standard elevator spiel is only great for pitching to a single person (or a few people); if you have an idea for The Next Big Thing, you don’t want others to overhear you and get there first.
But what if you have an idea that’s meant to be shared, like a new way for people to cut plastic from their lives or a novel approach to reducing our carbon footprint?
As Goodwall’s Omar Bawa put it, “We’ve got big problems and small problems, from climate change to finding a dog sitter. We’ve also got many solutions. But most of those solutions are trapped as ideas. For an idea to become a solution, that idea needs to be shared, it needs feedback and it needs support. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur, all you need is an idea to improve something and the courage to pitch it.”
Goodwall has launched this latest innovation—formatted as a 30-second vertical video—to inspire students and young professionals to share their ideas with the world, rather than hiding them away. When a Goodwall member creates and uploads a video onto the platform, their network connections have the opportunity to challenge the idea, offer feedback, and provide support, taking that idea from a simple thought to an actionable solution.
You can use it for almost anything you can think of, including a simple sales pitch with a call to action, a video to send out important information, or you could use virtual elevator pitches to call attention to a global problem. To see some great elevator pitch examples, sign up to Goodwall!
How to Create an Elevator Pitch
Whether you’re crafting the classic elevator speech or pitching your idea with Goodwall’s innovative vertical video, similar rules apply. To practice, try our simple elevator pitch exercise.
Here are 5 steps to creating the best elevator pitch possible:
1. Make an Introduction
In the traditional elevator speech, making an introduction is key when pitching someone who doesn’t know you. Jumping straight into a spiel as soon as the elevator’s doors shut could cause your audience to skip out floors early in annoyance.
With Goodwall’s modern take on the elevator pitch, however, less time is needed on introducing yourself, if you choose to at all. After all, your audience will see exactly who you are and can easily click over to your Goodwall profile if they’d like to learn more about you.
One important thing to remember with elevator pitches, throughout all these steps, is to tailor your pitch to your intended audience. A good elevator pitch is relevant to the particular party you’re addressing. Elevator pitch examples which target one VC with an innovative solution to a problem will need to be rethought for a different person, at least, if you want it to lead somewhere.
2. Identify a Problem
Before you propose a solution, use an elevator pitch to submit a problem for their consideration. And, no matter what type of elevator pitch you’re making, there’s always a problem. Here are a few example elevator pitches:
- “Your company’s growth is beginning to plateau.”
- “People want medications delivered by drone right to their homes. Until now, the government hasn’t allowed it.”
- “Forest fires in California have grown more and more powerful each year.”
When possible, give them concrete numbers, as these prove you’ve done your research and makes the problem to solve that much more intriguing and urgent.
3. Propose Your Solution
Now comes the “pitch” part. After you’ve identified a problem which they’ve hopefully sympathized with, it’s time to segue into your idea for eliminating that problem. Let’s look at those same pain points and see some elevator pitch examples of problem-solving answers:
- “Your company’s growth is beginning to plateau, but if you hire me …”
- “People want medications delivered by drone right to their homes. Until now, the government hasn’t allowed it, but I’ve figured out a way to …”
- “Forest fires in California have grown more and more powerful each year. But, what if we …”
4. Explain Your Idea’s Advantage Over Others
You’ve now pitched your idea, but you’re not done yet. To make a good elevator pitch truly effective, you’ll have to go into detail—briefly, as it’s still a 30-second pitch—as to why the solution you put forth is in their best interest. Otherwise, your listening audience will quickly assume that any benefits to be had are all yours, effectively ending your chances.
5. Answer Any Questions & Accept Feedback
With elevator pitches, you’re making a request, and, unless you managed to inspire 100% conviction in your proposal, they’re bound to have questions. Answer any questions your audience might ask honestly and in detail.
It may be that they don’t have questions for you but offer feedback or criticism on your idea instead. Always accept these comments graciously, thank them for their time, and use that feedback to improve your elevator speech for the next time.
To Sum Up …
Here’s a quick recap on how to create an effective elevator pitch:
- Introduce yourself to your audience;
- Identify a problem that exists;
- Pitch your idea on how to solve that problem;
- Go further into describing the merits of your solution;
- Answer their follow-up questions and graciously accept any feedback.
Even a simple elevator pitch can be quite daunting, certainly. You’re making yourself vulnerable by putting your ideas out there to complete strangers, hoping they’ll have a positive reaction.
However, if you follow our simple strategy on how to write an elevator pitch, you’ll have a powerful vehicle for delivering your ideas—the rest is up to you.
To learn more about sharing ideas on Goodwall, read our guides on why you should share your idea with the Goodwall community and how to create a virtual elevator pitch.
Got any questions to ask on writing an elevator speech? Need help crafting an elevator pitch that gets results, whether it’s a job interview, career, networking event, or finance proposal? Let’s bring the conversation down into the comments below, and thanks for reading!