Presenting your project with an elevator pitch

Whether you are a company director, a salesperson, a project manager, or a young graduate looking for a job, you are regularly required to present, within a very short space of time, your personal career, your product, your service, or your idea.   Many people do not give this presentation correctly and start with a hesitant tone and offer a boring, vague, or incoherent presentation.  This is a too bad, because you rarely have another chance to make a good first impression. A good elevator pitch would have helped you avoid this situation.

What is the purpose of the elevator pitch?

The elevator pitch is a professional presentation intended to attract the interest of the listener in the time you would have had if you had met this person in the elevator.  In the space of 30 - 60 seconds, you summarize who you are and what skills you have, or you give a description of your company, your project, or your idea.  The aim is to captivate and convince the person concerned in record time.  An elevator pitch is of course not restricted to the elevator, but applies by definition to all sorts of brief or unexpected meetings.

Some advice for a good elevator pitch

Be concise, clear, and professional: less is more

An elevator pitch lasts for a maximum of 1 minute, and generally includes between 100 and 150 words.  The shorter the better.  Avoid repetitions, digressions, and jargon.  After a few sentences, your contact will know what you do and what you need.

Avoid speaking too quickly or nervously.  If you are able to present your company in 20 seconds calmly, you are on the right path.

Don't tell lies: stick to the facts!

You will improve your pitch if you are honest and provide exact figures and concrete facts.  Show passion and conviction.  Investors often invest in the person themselves!  Remain as positive as possible and do not use words suggesting doubt, such as perhaps, undoubtedly, potentially, etc. They weaken your pitch.  But don't exaggerate either: a pitch is not a bluffing game.  Do not create expectations that you cannot meet.  You can demonstrate your ambition and your self-confidence, you can highlight your qualities, but this must not be a boasting session.

Don't forget to target your presentation: what's your goal?

Everyone gets lost in their own narrative at one time or another; but it would be a shame not to achieve your objective due to having forgotten the essentials.  If your pitch is aimed at people from the banking sector or toward investors, speak in terms of figures and don't forget to ask your question, notably to mention the capital you need, etc.

Avoid being elusive: base your pitch on what you can offer

Do not start with describing the idea, product, or service itself. Instead, start with the resulting advantages, how and why you can solve a problem or meet a need.  Try to present things as tangibly as possible.  If you are just starting out with your concept, mention what you have already done or your strengths.

Tailor your pitch to each situation

A good pitch doesn't just depend on your target, but on your contact or target audience as well.  Your presentation should be adapted to whether you are addressing a potential customer or a new orderer.  A meeting with investors requires a different pitch from a purchasing meeting or a meeting during which you want to acquire customers.  

Know yourself: whether you want to sell your job as a self-employed worker or apply for a new job, you must be able to describe your skills, your motivation, and your experience.  Don't forget to mention what differentiates you form others.

Keep your pitch current

For a young company, the pitch evolves quickly and will probably be different after 3 years.  But do not forecast too far ahead, and keep your pitch relevant to the situation today or in the very near future.

End properly: bounce & call to action

Even if only to maintain a network, don't forget that it is just important to listen as to speak.  A good pitch ends with a question directed toward the contact.  This also shows your interest in this respect.  Finally, give a "call to action".  Give out your business card, ask for numbers, plan a meeting, etc. And then respect what has been agreed.

Practice, over and over again

To give a good pitch, it is not enough to research the subject. You have to practice over and over again.  First, write down what you want to say on a piece of paper, then improve your text (remove sentences, use active, simple, and illustrative language) and practice in front of a mirror.  The ease will come.  But make sure that your presentation doesn't become too routine or you will lose credibility.  Maintain your motivation: nothing is more boring than a standard presentation repeated several times.  Test your pitch out on your friends, your 12-year-old niece, or your grandmother.  If they like it, you are on the right track.

Useful

  • Young Potentials has created a pitch builder.

  • The Pitch Canvas© created by coach David Beckett is an entrepreneurial brainstorming tool that helps you structure and visualize your pitch on a single page.

Updated 03/10/2018

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