Refining Your Elevator Pitch

On the phone, online, tweeting, facebooking-in a world of fast-paced communications, how quickly you can get your message across is critical. That’s why you need an elevator pitch. MORE (hot link to rest of article)

When you were in high school, you probably dreaded the prospect of writing a 10-page term paper. You much preferred the teacher who gave out shorter assignments-the shorter the better.

But now that you are in business, exactly the opposite is the case. You welcome the opportunity to wax on about the virtues of your company, your products, your newest innovation, etc. Unfortunately, in any first-time sales meeting, providing too much information can be lethal. Less really is more. And that’s never been more true than in today’s world of mobile communications and social media when you have to compete harder and harder to get someone’s attention and hold on to it.

That’s why the elevator pitch is so important. Even if you never set foot in a high rise office building, you need a 30-60 second presentation that you can readily deploy in a chance meeting, on the phone, at the beginning of a meeting, in a text message, etc.

You need to prepare this in advance. Coming up with the right words on the spot is very difficult. And compressing it down to 30-60 seconds is even tougher. Get started now and keep the following in mind:

Make it yours. Simply copying something or reciting/writing a canned description from somewhere else will sound scripted and unconvincing.
Make it bottom-line focused. People are constantly scanning for “what’s in it for them.” Go short on description, long on benefit.
Keep it simple. No matter how complicated or sophisticated your solution is, use words understandable to anyone. Imagine you are presenting to your mother.
Don’t overstate. Avoid claims that, even if true, will sound incredible and salesy.
Avoid jargon and buzzwords as much as possible. They change all of the time.
Keep it short. Include only the most interesting and relevant information.
Remember your objective: it’s to engage someone’s interest and get them to want to know more. Your goal is not to make the sale within 30 seconds.
Tailor something to the listener’s specific company, market, geographic area, etc.
Be as natural as possible. Vary your tone of voice. Use natural gestures and body language. As you talk you are giving off nonverbal cues.
Practice. Hear yourself say it. Try it out on people. If you are taking the process seriously, you will find yourself revising it every time. That helps keep it fresh.

August 12, 2011
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