The strategic seconds of an elevator pitch

The strategic seconds of an elevator pitch

Monday, 19 november 2018 | Redacción CEU

Time is a determining factor when it comes to persuading someone of something. The first seconds in a conversation are decisive for generating interest. Doubting or hesitating when an extraordinary occasion arises may imply missing a golden opportunity. When entrepreneurs meet potential investors, strategic clients or possible collaborators by chance, they have a few seconds which are crucial and can turn out to be a turning point in their businesses or careers. Being prepared for this type of situations means a great competitive advantage. But, how to awaken an interlocutor's interest in just a few seconds? What is an elevator pitch?


An elevator pitch (which is also known as elevator speech) is a term that is used to refer to a very short, clear and concise talk that serves as a cover letter for professionals and a presentation for their projects when they are in front of a key interlocutor. This term refers to the exceptional scenario that emerges when entrepreneurs happen to meet important people in the elevator. These short journeys are unique opportunities to boost projects or improve professional situations. With no way out, being trapped in the elevator, these individuals have no choice -as long as they do not cover up their ears-, but to listen to what professionals want to say. This type of meetings can occur at anytime and anywhere. However, knowing how to explain what your project consists of and who you are in a natural and persuasive way and in such a brief period is not easy.

When entrepreneurs prepare an elevator pitch, they have to consider that this technique does not aim to sell, but rather to persuade, arouse and generate interest. In just a few minutes or seconds, these people have to manage to convey their ideas in a different way to draw attention and be able to win over the person who is caught in the elevator -or anywhere else–. Of course, this technique is ideal for proposing a new business idea, but also to find a job or improve the strategic position of professionals. Job opportunities arise in unsuspected places. Anyone can be a potential employer, investor or collaborator. Therefore, when you are looking for a job or you are in the initial phase of a project, preparing an elevator pitch is highly recommended.


The strategic seconds of an elevator pitch

How to prepare an elevator pitch?

Although this speech is apparently improvised, it usually requires a prior preparation to be sufficiently captivating. There are no infallible recipes, but it is more likely that an encounter by chance will result in a successful coming together by following certain advice. Next, we offer a list of recommendations that are important when it comes to designing an elevator pitch:

  • Controlling time: The speech has to be brief. A few seconds are enough to convince your interlocutors that what you are saying is worth their time. They have to be left wanting to know more but knowing what is essential.
  • Catching the attention: A stunning question, a surprising statement or a striking fact are effective when trying to attract the attention of anyone. Initiating an intervention using any of these formulas is a good way to break the ice and awaken the interlocutor's curiosity.
  • Knowing how to define yourself: It is not about reciting your resumé, but offering a brief introduction about who you are, as if it were a business card. It is important to know how to define yourself in a single sentence, in the same way that any person would do it in the headline on Linkedin.
  • Synthesizing the information without forgetting the things that are fundamental: There are four things that every elevator speech must include –who you are, what solutions you provide, what the benefits for the interlocutor are and why the project or you yourself are convenient for the people who are listening to you–. These aspects are indispensable in this type of discourse, of course, as long as they are treated with clarity and conciseness.
  • Making the differences clear: Distinguishing yourself from the competition is essential to attract the attention of your target. This kind of interlocutors are usually accustomed to receiving a multitude of proposals. If you do not show your differences with respect for the rest, it will be very difficult to achieve the ambitious goal of persuading your interlocutor.
  • Being natural and remaining composed: Once the elevator pitch has been designed, it is time to rehearse it. It is not a matter of repeating the speech over and over again until you will memorize it, but of having its structure clear and, then, managing to reproduce it naturally. If the argument sounds artificial and rehearsed, the speech will lose all its force. On the other hand, even if the meeting takes place in an informal setting, it is important to keep a serious and professional image.
  • Using a positive language: Speaking with determination and conveying passion and trust are good guidelines to build a speech that is able to captivate the interlocutor.
  • Creating the opportunity to meet again: This type of situation does not usually end up with a signature or an agreement. What it can do is enabling the beginning of a relationship or being the first step before an interview. For this meeting to be successful it is necessary to close the speech with some kind of call to action. Professionals can give interlocutors their business cards, ask for theirs, contact with them on Linkedin, exchange their phone numbers or request their email address.

At The CEU IAM Business School we teach a Master's Degree in Human Resources, the Management of Talent and Leadership which is firmly committed to leadership, talent, people management, innovation and networking. Become one of the key professionals in the organizational transformation of business thanks to this unique training.

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