Pitching your business or idea to others is always a nerve-wracking experience. You never know exactly how people will respond, and it’s not always easy to gauge your success afterward. Sometimes your audience will be eager to learn more, while other times they may give you the cold shoulder. Either way, there are a few methods you can use to increase the chances of delivering a successful elevator pitch. In doing so, you can secure the support or funding that you need to succeed.

So, let’s take a look at the top 5 tips for giving the perfect elevator pitch!

Elevator pitch
photo credit: Start-up BW Elevator Pitch / Flickr

Know What You’re Talking About

There’s nothing worse than listening to someone who is ill-informed about their own business idea or industry. If you aren’t informed about the subject at hand, you won’t be able to deliver an effective pitch. Moreover, you won’t be able to accurately answer questions if and when they arises. If you need help researching your industry and gaining confidence in your pitch, consider contacting the experts at Research America for help.

Know Your Audience

In many cases, you’ll need to make an elevator pitch on the fly. You may not know your audience very well, which can make it harder to craft your words effectively. However, learning as much as possible about your audience ahead of time can greatly increase the chances of achieving the result you want.

So, even if you have to save your pitch for a later date, it can be well worth it to learn more about your audience.

Keep It Brief

By definition, an elevator pitch is simply a shorter version of a standard business pitch. Most people have a very short attention span, so you need to make sure that your pitch is short enough to keep them engaged from start to finish. Though there’s no exact measurement for the perfect elevator pitch, it’s generally a good idea to keep it under one minute in length. Additionally, you should try to get your primary message across within the first 5-10 seconds.

Elevator pitch at a networking event
photo credit: UKTN / Flickr

Hit the High Points

Since elevator pitches need to be relatively short, you won’t have a lot of time to go into detail. As a result, you need to figure out the most important points ahead of time.

It may be tempting to give a verbose backstory about yourself, your business, or your idea, but this is not an effective or efficient way to convey your message. Instead, touch on the most important points in a concise way. If your audience asks for more information, then you can take the time to go into greater detail.

Close With a Call to Action

Nobody likes to have ideas thrown at them without a clear idea of what you expect from them. Therefore, every elevator pitch should conclude with a clear call to action. For example, if you’re looking for business investors, you should conclude with an invitation to get involved with your business, as well as a way to contact you for more information. This way, your audience will understand exactly what you want and how they can help.