The Elevator Speech

What?
Wikipedia describes it as follows:

An elevator pitch (or elevator speech) is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (say, thirty seconds or 100-150 words).

The term is typically used in the context of an entrepreneur pitching an idea to a venture capitalist to receive funding. Venture capitalists often judge the quality of an idea and team on the basis of the quality of its elevator pitch, and will ask entrepreneurs for the elevator pitch to quickly weed out bad ideas.

Why?
Think of situations where you want to get in to a certain prospect, try to trow an idea at a high level executive, obtaining venture capital, …
An elevator speech is your “foot in the door”. Why should someone meet with you if they have a full agenda? They don’t want to waste valuable time, so you can arouse their curiosity by doing an elevator speech.

How?
The best elevator speech has

  • an intriguing intro
  • lasts about 40 seconds ~ 100 words
  • is delivered with passion
  • ends with a question or invitation to start a conversation

Maybe you should even mix the above point with “What Makes Messages Stick“… 😉 In the end that’s the objective you’re trying to accomplish.

Example from StartupNation

Read the pitch out loud and time it – you’ll see that it can be done in 60 seconds or less. You’ll need to be able to pitch your idea in the same amount of time.

“Our company is called ConstructionBoots.com, an e-commerce website that sells brandname construction boots. There are currently no companies serving this niche exclusively. ConstructionBoots.com will drive traffic to the site by linking to other websites catering to the construction industry as well as through word-of-mouth. In industry surveys, over 90% of construction workers have these three traits: 1) they have a favorite brand of boots, 2) they know their size, and 3) they hate shopping at stores. In our own polling, over 70% indicated that they would prefer to buy their boots online and have them delivered. Accordingly, we expect a great market response and rapid sales ramp-up.

We need $1.5 million in funding to get to the point where the company is self-sustaining. This should happen in the middle of our second year. Right now, we’re seeking $500,000 of initial funding in exchange for a 30% ownership stake in the company. I am the CEO with lots of operational experience and deep contacts with boot manufacturers. Our Marketing Director was instrumental in the growth and recent sale of a very successful e-commerce clothing company. If we hit our numbers, we expect to be able to sell ConstructionBoots.com to a ‘brick and mortar’ retailer within 3 years.”

Video
And because everyone always loves the visuals… Here’s a video from the CBC’s business reality series, Dragon’s Den. A show where contestants pitch their business ideas to 5 multimillionaire investors in an effort to acquire the funding they need to make their business come to life. The way to suceed is to master the “elevator pitch.” Mentor Capitalist, Sean wise explains how.

References
Wikipedia
Elevator Pitch 101
Learn how to deliver a masterful Elevator Pitch

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