The Elements of a Successful Elevator Pitch

How to win over anyone in 30 seconds.

An elevator pitch is an abstract of your business goals. It should be short and crisp. When delivering an elevator pitch, you need to hook the listeners in 30 seconds or less.

While promoting the movie “Gemini Man,” actor Will Smith expressed his enthusiasm to invest in a startup. The host called upon four startup founders who were allotted 40 seconds each for pitch delivery.

Founder 1 had a stunning product, but could not vocalize his proposal confidently. Founder 2 had a complex product and went beyond the time limit. Founder 3, Kofi Frimpong, nailed it with perfection: his story was concise and highly refined. Founder 4 also came up with his version, but by then Will Smith had already made his decision. In the end, Will Smith announced to invest $10,000 in a startup called “Socionado” by Kofi Frimpong.

What did Kofi Frimpong do that others did not?

Kofi’s pitch was incredibly strong. He started with a ‘Did you know?’, followed by the problem statement and solution, and closing with an idea of how big the industry is.

Here’s how to deliver a winning pitch:

  1. Know your audience:

Who are you pitching to? Is it an investor, a judge for a competition, a potential client? You must know your audience, understand what kind of answers they are seeking from your pitch, and address exactly those.

  1. Identify the problem:

What problem are you aiming to solve? How big is it? Is it just a problem for you, for a few hundred, or a larger number of people? Identifying the problem and its scope, and effectively delivering them in your pitch is crucial. 

  1. Address origins of the problem:

Okay, so there’s a problem. Why does this exist in the first place? Answering this ‘why’ makes you sound more credible and capable of handling the problem.

  1. How do you solve the problem:
    Finally, what are you doing to solve that problem? How do you stand out from others already attempting to solve this problem? This part is your chance to establish your unique selling proposition and pull your audience into why you are the right person to solve this problem.

Now you know how an elevator pitch works. But, remember: a great pitch is powerless without regular practice. Practice this pitch, maybe with your family and friends, or even strangers on the bus. By the end of your pitch, they should want to know more.

Why are you still here? Start working on your pitch right away!

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