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The Art of the Elevator Pitch

The Art of the Elevator Pitch

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Published by Robert Pagliarini

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Published by: Robert Pagliarini on Jan 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Art of the Elevator Pitch
Robert Pagliarini –Columnist for CBS MoneyWatch
An "elevator pitch" is a concise,carefully planned, and well-practiceddescription about you, your company,or your product/service that yourmother should be able to understand inthe time it would take to ride up anelevator. Whether you are anentrepreneur with a start-up companytrying to find investors, a recentgraduate trying to find a job, a mom with ideas on how to improve theclassroom, or a nonprofit looking for donations, you are in thebusiness of persuasion and a good elevator pitch can help you sellyour ideas.But in today's ADD information overloaded society, how do you gainpeople's attention? The answer is to craft an elevator pitch, but don'tthink "sales pitch." Don't suffer from "diarrhea of the mouth" - this isa phrase one of my teachers was fond of saying to his students (okay,he really only said it to me!). An elevator pitch isn't about crammingas much information into a minute as possible. A well crafted elevatorpitch is much more about finesse. It should evoke emotion more thanthought.The elevator pitch has gained fame with entrepreneurs who need toquickly tell their story to prospective investors. "Give me your pitch"is a common phrase among angel investors and VCs. If you've usedpart of your other 8 hours to invent something or start a company,don't be caught off-guard. Follow these rules:
Six questions your Elevator Pitch must answer:
What is your product or service? 
Briefly describe what it is you sell. Do not go into excruciatingdetail.
Who is your market? 
Briefly discuss who you are selling the product or service to.What industry is it? How large of a market do they represent?
What is your revenue model? 
More simply, how do you expect to make money?
Who is behind the company? 
"Bet on the jockey, not the horse" is a familiar saying amongInvestors. Tell them a little about you and your team'sbackground and achievements. If you have a strong advisoryboard, tell them who they are and what they have accomplished.
Who is your competition? 
Don't have any? Think again. Briefly discuss who they are andwhat they have accomplished. Successful competition can be anadvantage-they are proof your business model and/or conceptwill work.
What is your competitive advantage? 
Now that you've identified your competition, you need toeffectively communicate how your company is different and whyyou have an advantage over them. A better distribution channel?Key partners? Proprietary technology?
What your Elevator Pitch must contain:
 A "hook" 
Open your pitch by getting the Investor's attention with a"hook." A statement or question that piques their interest towant to hear more.
 About 150-225 words
Your pitch should go no longer than 60 seconds.
Investors expect energy and dedication from entrepreneurs.
 A request 
At the end of your pitch, you must ask for something. Do youwant their business card, to schedule a full presentation, to askfor a referral?Once you've written your elevator pitch, it's time to practice it overand over and over. Make sure it flows well. Say it to family andfriends. Get their feedback.But what if you aren't an entrepreneur? You still need an elevator pitchto concisely tell your story, attract interest from employers, raisedonations, etc. Invest part of your other 8 hours to nail your pitch. Usethe template above to get started so whenever you hear, "tell meabout yourself," you can take a deep breath, relax, and wow them.
(Image of elevator panel by 

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