an open, empty elevator - ready for you to practice your elevator pitch

How To: Create the Perfect Elevator Pitch in 3 Steps


The steel doors open. You step into the elevator and select level 2. As the doors start to close you hear “Wait! Hold the door!”
You stop the door just in time for a man to step into the elevator, slightly out of breath.
“Thanks for that,” he says, “I’m Rob,” and holds out a hand for you to shake.
You shake it and introduce yourself.
“So, what do you do?”

This is your time to shine and sell yourself and your business. But how do you explain what you do in just a  short elevator ride?

An elevator pitch is a way to explain what you do to someone you’ve just met. Ideally it should be 30-60 seconds, just enough for an elevator ride, hence the name. Elevator pitches are perfect to use at networking events or to put in your professional social media profiles.

How do you create a catchy elevator pitch?

 1.   What’s in an Elevator Pitch?

Before you start, think about what you want your audience to remember about you. Then create the content of your elevator pitch to suit.

There are three things you need to focus on in your elevator pitch:

  1. Tell people what your company does. This is a key part of things that people want to know. If you talk about it in a ‘customer-focused’ way (i.e. the problems your clients have and how you solve them), it engages with people and makes them think about how you can help them with their problems.
  2. Talk briefly about how you do it. While the ‘how we do it’ is important for people to know, it’s probably not the most interesting thing to talk about.
  3. Then talk about WHY you do it. The why is similar to the purpose of the company (or your personal purpose within the company). This is the special sauce that gets people interested – which is the whole point of an elevator pitch!

 NOTE: If you want a more in-depth explanation of the WHY, have a look at Simon Sinek’s TEDTalk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. 

2.   Practice your delivery

You want your elevator pitch to feel natural, and while it might not to start with, it will with practice. There are several ways you can practice:

  1. In front of a mirror
  2. With other people
  3. Or you can record it and watch it back

Practicing makes sure your message always makes sense. It’s also a good idea to time yourself,  so you don’t start waffling. Keep in mind that HOW you say your pitch is just as important as what’s in it. When you practice you need to think about the speed and pitch of your voice, as well as your body language. Try to make it seem as natural as possible. Remember – the more you practice, the easier it will be to deliver when you’re meeting new people. 

3.   Have a few variations up your sleeve

There are many different situations where you might need an elevator pitch. And not all of them are going to require the same pitch. When you’re at a holiday barbeque you don’t need to try and sell yourself to the CEO of a big business.

The key to a great elevator pitch is to think about your audience and your target market/s. You want to be able to spark their interest in you or your company. And, having some variations allows you to do this confidently, no matter what situation you’re in. 

Some variations you might want to have:

  • Something casual and personal for situations like BBQ’s or when you bump into an old school friend at the grocery store.
  • A formal pitch for client meetings and networking events.
  • A pitch for industry events, including relevant industry jargon and/or statistics.
  • If you have multiple products or services, having a variation for each could be a good idea. 

Once you’ve got all this, you just need to put it all together – so the next time someone awkwardly asks you what you do the moment the elevator doors close, you have the perfect answer!

TIP: Don’t forget about business cards! Make sure that you both give out your business card AND get one from the person you’re talking to. This is a great way to continue the dialogue at a later date.

Perfect your Elevator Pitch at a networking group!
Come along to visit one of The Networkers® groups near you.

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