Last updated on July 5th, 2022 at 12:22 pm
In the entrepreneurial quest, you get asked this question a lot: “What do you do?” After you answer them, do their eyes gloss over?
There’s a ton of advice out there for the best way to answer that question. The classic description of having something great to say back is an elevator pitch, or in this case, a dream elevator pitch.
I’ll give you an example of what not to do. For several years I offered the stock answer:
I design and build custom web sites for small business
Sure that’s part of what I DO, but it doesn’t cover the results, interaction, or long-term goals we have for the client’s project.
I’ve picked up a few tips over the past several years in promoting my primary business, Forward Motion Studios, through several networking events. Now my answer goes something like this:
Forward Motion Studios helps small businesses figure out what online marketing can do for their business. We make it easy to find your customers online so you don’t have to.
Still needs work. This is a super short quick introduction version that would fit well in a networking event. One example of many, since part of the dream elevator pitch process, is to tailor it to your environment.
6 Key elements of a pitch
- A hook – The first few seconds are key. The reality is we all have a million things going through our heads every second of every day, so jolting someone into the present so they can listen is critical. What exactly is the value you are proposing to offer? What problem are you solving?
- Passion – If you aren’t feeling passion for what you are pitching, no one else will feel the passion. doesn’t come through,
- Keep it simple – Every industry has its jargon, acronyms, and tech-speak. Now is not the time to use it. If you rattle off some technical information the listener does not know, their mind is now focused on trying to figure out what the heck that is and has stopped listening to you. Make sure your grandmother AND your 5th grader can get it.
- Request – Whether the focus is a request for investment, or a new niche client base, asking for something is at the heart of your dream elevator pitch. Ask what you want or need, and make it clear.
- Listen – we know the ratio of our ears to mouth is 2:1 and I can tell you that most people I run into at networking events forget the simple rule of listening. This can be vital during the pitch to pick up clues on the person’s interest in what you’re saying, and if they even get it.
- Practice – everyone has those moments of completely blanking out. In a pitch, the few seconds you need to get your thoughts together might make or break a deal. Practice it until your family is begging you to stop. Then practice it again.
Need some more help? You can check out “Elevator Pitch Essentials” by Chris O’Leary for some incredible real-life pitch examples, good and bad, and learn what to avoid.
Are you one of those people that hate to brag and talk about themselves? Business guru Guy Kawasaki offers some great advice on selling your dream… which comes in handy in several environments you will want to share your dream elevator pitch.
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and serial entrepreneur who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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