How to pitch

An elevator pitch — also known as an elevator speech — is a quick synopsis of your background and experience. The reason it's called an elevator pitch is that it should be short enough to present during a brief elevator ride.

Tips for a good pitch:

  • Keep it short and sweet: Your elevator speech is a sales pitch - restrict the speech to 30-60 seconds. You don’t need to include your whole life story, just give a short recap of who you are and what you do. Say who you are, what you do, and what you want to achieve.
  • Be persuasive: Even though it's short, you should get the attention and interest of your listener in your idea, organization, or background.
  • Share your skills: explain who you are and what qualifications and skills you have. Focus on assets that add value in many situations.
  • Practice, practice, practice. The best way to feel comfortable about giving an elevator speech is to practice it until the speed and “pitch” come naturally. Test your speech with a friend or record it, so that you can be sure that your message is clear

Richard Branson, billionaire entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder is an expert in delivering his ideas simply, concisely, and effectively. Branson offers leaders and entrepreneurs this advice: “It is vitally important to present a clear, concise plan that investors can easily understand and repeat to their own people. In the first meeting avoid overly complicated, numbers-laden presentations.” Not only investment pitches, but all effective pitches should include these five components:

  1. What’s in it for them? Always ask yourself, ‘why should my listeners care?’
  2. Be concrete : avoid ‘wishy-washy’ language and phrases such as “It is hoped…”or “With some luck…” Be specific, concrete, and confident.
  3. Be unapologetically disruptive : don’t apologise for having a better deal or idea than your competitors. Be passionate about your idea
  4. Prove that growth is sustainable: Investors and partners want proof that you understand the environment in which you will be selling your product. One way to get your idea across is to start with a problem before the solution.  Every great story has a protagonist. Introducing the villain (problem) before the hero (solution) makes for a compelling business narrative. So take some time to explain how your product or service solves the problem.
  5. Demonstrate bench strength: who’s with you in your team – there’s always someone to support you(r) idea

You can also check out this video from TedX speech coach David Backett :