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Whether you’re trying to raise capital for your business, attempting to pitch a new client or even seeking to convince your friends to go on an epic vacation with you, an effective elevator pitch is one of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal.
I have noticed that the average person only gives you about 30 seconds (some studies have shown as little as six seconds) to catch their attention before their mind begins to wander, so having a pitch that is engaging right from the beginning is key. If the pitch doesn’t start off strong or if the audience doesn’t connect with it right away, then it is likely that they will tune out for the remainder of the time you’re speaking.
Throughout my career as a serial entrepreneur, investor and adviser, I’ve listened to thousands of pitches. These are some of the most effective techniques that I have run into thus far.
1. Know your audience.
If you know ahead of time who you’re going to be pitching, it is a good idea to do some research and adjust your pitch to better relate to them. Check out their social media profiles and learn as much as you can before the pitch; this will better equip you to tailor your pitch to their personal experiences. For example, if you are running a biotech company that is working on a cure for cancer and you find out that one of the members of the audience just lost a loved one to the disease, you would be better equipped to appeal to their personal pain point.
2. Keep it simple.
Pretend that the person you are pitching to is completely ignorant about your company and the industry. Don’t use industry lingo (unless you are confident that they are well versed in it), and make the pitch so simple that even a child could understand it.
3. Define a pain point that your pitch can solve.
Your elevator pitch should clearly define the problem that your company is going to tackle. Try to include something that the audience can personally relate to and define why it’s such a big problem. For example, if your company is teaching children how to read, then you may want to include statistics that show how many children are illiterate in America.
4. Talk up the team.
I have heard so many pitches that focus only on the goals of the company and fail to mention why their team is well-equipped to reach those goals. Many times, an investor will make an investment decision because of their faith in the founders (not necessarily the project). Make sure you find a way to humbly brag about the capabilities of your team. Whether your team members have a Ph.D. from Harvard or have experience running a team for a major corporation, don’t forget to work this into the elevator pitch.
5. Recognize that sometimes less is more.
Don’t feel like you have to hit upon all the highlights during the elevator pitch. The point of an elevator pitch is to grab the audience’s attention and sometimes less is more. Too many times, I’ve seen a pitch start strong and engaging, but the presenter quickly loses the audience because they try to point out every bell and whistle the product or service offers. Too many details can make the pitch confusing. There is plenty of time to get into the nitty gritty if you already have their interest.
The best pitches are those that tell a story. Make sure your story captivates the audience, flows well and, if you’re trying to raise money, shows the investor their path to profitability. If you deliver an elevator pitch that piques the audience’s interest, your chances of success will improve exponentially.
December 27, 2018 at 09:33AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs