The Elevator Pitch

The most important goal of your elevator pitch should be clarity and understanding. Everyone who hears it should know exactly what you do or what job you are seeking.

We’ve all been there: Say, you go to a networking event, seminar or social function, and the leader says, “Before we get started, go around the room and mingle. When it’s your turn: stand up, tell us who you are and what you do. (In other words: ‘Give us your elevator pitch’).

What is an elevator pitch? 

An elevator pitch is a personal infomercial that briefly and clearly answers that request. For many, responding to that query, be it in front of a group or one-on-one, is a struggle.

Most people merely give their name, the name of their company, and the products or services they offer. That’s pretty standard, but not very inspiring. If they are seeking a job, they frequently give their name, years in their industry and the position they would like. Again, typical fare for this question, but pretty boring.

That’s a problem. It’s a problem because the research shows: Speaking Opportunities are BusinessCareer, and Leadership opportunities!” People who take advantage of “Speaking Opportunities” grow their businesses, advance their careers, gain leadership positions, and get hired for the jobs they want. An elevator pitch is a mini-speaking opportunity! Bottom line: Everyone needs to work on a great elevator pitch!


The ultimate goal of an elevator pitch

All elevator pitches have the same ultimate goal: To start a conversation.

Start a conversation with someone having a sincere interest, for themselves or someone else, in your products and services.

Those ‘someones’ want details.

  • How much is your service or product?
  • What are the terms?
  • How long has this product or service been available and what is the track record?
  • Is there a guarantee?
  • How do you deliver the product or service?
  • Other relevant questions specific to their requirements.

Conversely, if you’re looking for a job.

  • What specific company or industry are you looking to land in?
  • What is your experience in this area, or related fields?
  • What specific skills do you have that make you a viable candidate for this type of work?

Eventually, that conversation may not be with the person who first heard your elevator pitch. It could be with someone referred by him or her. That’s why the Critical Goals of an elevator pitch are very improtant.


Critical goals of an elevator pitch

The main goal of all communication, being it verbal, written, or visual, is the same. We want the audience, as quickly as possible, to GET OUR MESSAGE!

The critical goal of your elevator pitch should be clarity and understanding.

Everyone who hears it should learn exactly what you do or what job you are seeking. That way, they will be able to tell others precisely what you do.

Clarity is not an option. Don’t try to be clever with words or jargon that can’t be interpreted immediately. Use plain, simple language, avoiding buzzwords, acronyms, and techno-speak. You won’t impress people with words they don’t know. You’ll lose them!

If they don’t get your message, they’ll never be a prospect nor will they ever refer you.


There are 3 possible outcomes to your elevator pitch:

  1. People that hear it want to talk to you right away. They want to have a full conversation and get details.
  2. They might not need what you offer, but if they ever do, they would be very comfortable having a talk with you because you’ve already established credibility and presented yourself as an expert.
  3. They know what you do. Their radar is now up, and if someone ever says, “I’m looking for this product or service or someone to do this type of work,” they will refer, you.

It’s important to QUALIFY

your audience

When networking one-on-one, whether before a scheduled program or, perhaps, at a party, one specific goal is to dis-qualify someone! Recognise that not everyone is a prospect for the products or services you offer.

You are not going to purchase every product and service someone tells you about.

When networking, an important goal should be: “Don’t waste a lot of time on minor possibilities!”

Let’s see an example:

I was attending a event where people arrived early to network. As it usually happens, people were introducing themselves to others and giving their elevator pitch.

One attendee was a woman who sold new windows for old homes. She had a pretty good elevator pitch for presenting to a group of people. It was easy to understand what she was selling. The product had an excellent reputation, and the firm she worked for had been in business for a many years. If I were a prospect for new windows, or knew someone looking for those, I would have felt very comfortable having a conversation with her or making a referral.

Most attendees were not potential clientes for her product. They might be renters, recently bought windows, or live in a new home where the original windows are just fine. Additionally, I knew the line of windows she was selling was very expensive, and definitely not in everyone’s budget.

Delivering her entire elevator pitch to people who have absolutely no interest, or not likely to buy her windows, was a waste of their time and hers. Sure, they may know someone who might have an interest, but time is a valuable commodity when networking before an event starts.

A good one-on-one elevator pitch will quickly dis-qualify someone.

A proper “Elevator Pitch” will do that!

  1. It starts with asking a question.
  2. Give your WHY.
  3. Ask another question.

The following is my Elevator Pitch

“Thanks for asking what I do. I’m going to answer your question by asking you one. Have you ever been In an audience, watching and listening to a presenter and you thought to yourself: ‘Wow! That guy is good! I mean, he is really good. He’s articulate, authentic and very entertaining. Obviously, he has a passion for what he’s doing and I’m getting a lot out of this presentation. I wish I could do that.’

(If they answer ‘yes’, then continue with the below)

I’m the person they sign up with to develop, practice and deliver presentations like that.

The fact is, everyone who signs up with me knows: speaking opportunities are business, career, and leadership opportunities!

Do you know of anyone who would like to improve their networking, public speaking and presentation skills?”

Now that elevator pitch will get their attention! It has clarity and it ends with a call for action.

In addition to being used one-on-one, an Elevator Pitch can also be used when delivering a spech to groups. This is especially true when time is critical.

Use this formula for developing, practising, and delivering your Elevator Pitch and I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!


What are your thoughts of this article? Feel free to share your own elevator pitch and I will comment on it. 


Fearless Speakers

Gus German is a Certified Professional Public Speaker and Senior Trainer at FEARLESS SPEAKERS, a Sydney- based, a public speaking training organization. As a seasoned public speaking trainer & professional speaker he enjoys helping other succeed in this worthy and rewarding craft. Gus is also a Certified Project Manager and has a background in Electronics Engineering. He also worked as a Counsellor over many years and specialises in Exposure Therapy

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