What is an Elevator Pitch? How to Create One With Examples

Generating a reliable, accurate, and easy-to-remember elevator pitch can be crucial in conveying your value proposition, outlining your brand personality and ultimately building overall brand trust in your business, all in a matter of seconds.

However, while it may seem like something you can just memorize and recite whenever the situation calls for it, when and where to present your elevator pitch is not as straightforward as one might initially imagine.

In other words, there is a variance, and when it comes to delivering an elevator pitch, context is everything.

There is a time and place for presenting your elevator pitch. However, determining when precisely this ideal scenario comes about can be a tricky decision to make. This consideration doesn’t even begin to delve into what the actual content of an elevator pitch should include or how to present it.

Are you lost or confused yet? Don’t worry! 

Today, we’re discussing what an elevator pitch is, how it got its unique name, what to include, and examples of how and when it is best to use it.

By the end of this article, you’ll be elevating your elevator pitch to an entirely different level!

Here’s what we’ll cover

What is an Elevator Pitch? Why is it Called an Elevator Pitch?

why is it called an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch, also known as an elevator speech, is a concise, rehearsed statement that describes you, your business and what you do or sell.

They typically last 30-seconds or less to serve as a gateway or catalyst for a second, more in-depth conversation.

An elevator pitch is not the occasion to try and sell either yourself or your business or dispel how either could pose potential solutions for the issues you think or know the person on the other end of the conversation has.

Instead, it serves as a brief overview and introduction to get your foot in the door.

So, if its purpose isn’t to get down to brass tacks right away, when is the correct time to use an elevator pitch?

Typically, they’re for more casual or social business interactions, such as networking events, conferences, introductory calls and, in some instances, job interviews.

In these contexts, the most practical approach is to phrase your elevator pitch in a goal-oriented manner. Provide a brief overview of what you bring to the table, supply a sneak peek of why it would be in their best interest to inquire further and provide statistics where possible to support your claims.

However, it’s also crucial not to give too much away. After all, you have to leave some mystery to prompt a second conversation!

Finally, at the end of delivering an elevator pitch, you should always end the interaction with a business card or request to connect on a digital platform, such as the business networking website LinkedIn.

In terms of how it got its name, it’s pretty self-explanatory if you’re able to pick up on context cues. However, we’ll explain it anyway! 

Since they’re supposed to be 30-seconds or less, an elevator pitch is named as such because it should be short enough for you to present it to someone as you ride in an elevator with them.

What do You Say in an Elevator Pitch?

how to write an elevator pitch

Keep it Brief

Like most other things in life, when it comes to delivering your elevator pitch, timing is everything. We’ve reiterated a few times now, but elevator pitches should be roughly 30-seconds. There is some wiggle room here, but, that said, they should never exceed more than 60 seconds.

You don’t need to delve into great detail about your career objectives or list off your entire resume. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to quickly but efficiently establish who you are and what you do.

Outline Your Skills

On top of explaining who you are and what you do, your speech should also include your various qualifications and skills. That said, you don’t want to ramble on about inapplicable or irrelevant talents. In this way, you want to focus on skills that serve as assets and supply value across a broad spectrum of situations.

You want to come across as confident but not present yourself in a way that may be construed as overly arrogant or bragging. In other words, you can articulate your or your business’s strengths and advantages, but not to the degree of being boastful.

Mention Your Goals

You don’t need to be overly specific with this one. Being too much in the weeds when it comes to details can be to the detriment of your elevator pitch. 

An elevator speech is meant to be broad and versatile so that you can utilize it in several diverse settings.

That said, you can mention what you’re looking for or how your business could be of benefit. For example, if you’re looking for a new job, you could say what type of role you’re looking for or a particular place you wish to relocate to within the same industry.

In the context of business, you could highlight the specific areas that bring value to customers and clients alike and how you want to help the particular person you’re speaking with without getting too involved in describing precisely how you would go about doing it.

Know Your Audience

As we said, an effective elevator pitch should be versatile. You should be able to adjust it depending on the particular individual you’re delivering it to. In some instances, using industry-related jargon can be a strategic way of letting someone know that you’re well-versed in a particular area.

However, others may not be as welcoming to such specific terminology and may instead find it offputting. 

As such, you have to pick and choose what knowledge or benefits you wish to highlight and use various context cues to determine what would be the most convincing in any given situation.

Have a Business Card Ready

If you have one, be sure to present a business card at the end of your elevator pitch. This gesture serves as a silent suggestion to carry on the conversation later while providing the best methods to reach you.

The primary objective of an elevator pitch is to open the door to the potential and benefit of a more in-depth dialogue. Presenting someone with a business card shows that you’re prepared and enthusiastic without being too forward. It leaves the ball in the other person’s court if they’d like to discuss the opportunity further.

How to Deliver an Elevator Pitch

As we said, an elevator speech is not the time to give your entire life story or work history. It’s meant to be a quick summation of who you are, and what you do or your company does.

With this in mind, below, we will highlight the fundamental questions that all elevator speeches should answer, including examples of how to deliver each portion effectively.

Who are You?

Before getting too ahead of yourself and diving headfirst into your message, you should initially introduce yourself to whoever it is you’re conversing with. 

Start with a sentence stating who you are and what your role at your company is.

For example, “My name is Emily, and I’m a Content Writer at Advesa Digital,” will help set the stage for the rest of the exchange.

A brand philosophy doesn’t just tell your audience who you are, it also helps align your business strategy. Read more in 10 Brand Philosophy Examples To Align Your Company Culture.”

That said, don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s a well-known fact that many people enjoy talking about themselves. 

In the context of an elevator pitch, it may even seem like a beneficial strategy. However, more often than not, the person you’re talking to isn’t going to become initially invested with this opening statement.

To put it more bluntly, they likely won’t care who you are or how long you’ve been in your position.

In this way, keep the introductions short and steer the conversation forward. If the person in question wants to learn more about you, specifically, they can ask later on. In these instances, you could even use this curiosity to drive a second meeting.

What Does Your Company Do?

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to have a firm and comprehensive understanding of what your company does when developing an effective elevator pitch. This knowledge should extend beyond the basic tagline and delve deeper into your business’s overall mission and ambitions for its particular product or service.

The more information you have surrounding the ins and outs of your particular business, the easier it will be to hone your elevator pitch to apply to the specific person you’re talking to. That said, this description still needs to be succinct and to the point. As we said, you only have 30 to 60 seconds!

All you need to do is outline what your company does without getting too much into detail. It shouldn’t take more than a sentence or two. The best way to think of it is you’re outlining the what but not necessarily the how.

For example, “I’m a Content Writer at Advesa Digital. We help businesses by providing digital solutions to maximize sales, drive leads, increase traffic and support customer retention.”

Ultimately, the goal is to have the prospective client, partner, or customer know who you are and precisely what your business does. Leave it to them to think about how this information could benefit them directly and whether they want to pursue further action.

What’s Your Value Proposition?

In the same realm of what your business does, one of the crucial pillars of a successful elevator pitch is highlighting what your company does exceptionally well that sets your particular product or service apart from competitors.

Again, keep this brief and limit it to one to two sentences about how your product or service brings value to your customers. By this point, you’ve clearly established who you are, your company and what you do. Now, it’s time to get into the details, but only in short! You don’t want to give too much away.

For example, “I’m a Content Writer at Advesa Digital. We help businesses by providing digital solutions to maximize sales, drive leads, increase traffic and support customer retention. With industry experts assigned to each client, we help businesses develop affordable, customer-oriented digital strategies comprised of personalized services that incorporate strategy, design and technology.”

Understanding your value proposition is essential if you want to drive sales and build a customer base. Learn about the types of Value Propositions and how to identify your own in What is a Value Proposition and How to Identify Yours (With 5 Examples)”

A value proposition is a time to establish, for the record, your company’s inherent value and how it ultimately drives your success by enticing customers, thereby generating revenue. 

Most people want to hear about how your business can benefit them, and more often than not, it boils down to revenue or potential sales. 

This portion of your elevator pitch should be specific, solution-oriented and create a sense of exclusivity by outlining the various factors that make your product or service, in particular, desirable.

Key Takeaways

Preparing your elevator speech is the same as building on any other skill you wish to develop. The best way to ensure that it presents as clear, concise and comfortable is through practice!

You’ll want to deliver it regularly, whether in the field or to yourself, until your pacing, mannerisms, and tone come across naturally. However, you don’t want to have it so well-rehearsed that, when you recite it, it’s completely void of personality.

After all, this isn’t the time to revert to your elementary school self giving a book report as you stare at your shoes. An elevator pitch is the opportunity to present you and your business in the best possible light confidently and captivatingly.

It may take some tweaking to perfect. You should also always be room for alterations depending on the specific context you’re presenting in, but, ultimately, having a concise and compelling elevator pitch is one of the most effective ways to establish new relationships.

From there, it’s just practice makes perfect! 

Written By Emily Rumball

A Content Writer at Advesa, Emily is a self-proclaimed tea addict (her favourite being a nice, strong English Breakfast), animal lover, and eager traveller. When she isn't jet-setting off to the next far off destination, she enjoys spending quality time at home in Vancouver.