Your elevator pitch: Getting it right

Be sure you have your elevator pitch in good working order when meeting someone new.

By Mark G. Auerbach

As small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers, we frequently update our professional bios, client lists, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and our promotional materials. But many of us overlook our “elevator pitch,” that very brief personal introduction to our unique skill sets that make us stand out amongst our competition.

You know the “elevator pitch,” or “standing in line at Starbucks pitch” or “networking event introduction.” You see someone you want to know or are approached by someone you want to know better, and you’ve got maybe 20-30 seconds to make a good and lasting impression.

Your elevator pitch has to be succinct, interesting, and memorable, as you describe your product or service to make someone desire it. It has to be unique to you and your business.

[amazon_link asins=’0984396772′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1823db7d-bcd1-11e8-9d60-bf4603ff3171′]Elevator pitches should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organization, product, or idea – unique. There are numerous online resources out there to help you develop your pitch, but here are a few essentials.

– Remember, an elevator pitch is a means to the end. You’re not going to attain a new client or sell a large amount of goods or services after a less-than-one-minute interaction. What you should hope to do is attract the person’s attention and make them want to know more.

[amazon_link asins=’B006RL5C1S’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1e90e8e9-bcd1-11e8-a15c-3d4edb312bb3′]- Know your audience. Who are you pitching? A CEO? A purchasing agent? A possible collaborator? Make your pitch unique to that possible relationship. With this in mind, you might want to have multiple pitches ready.

– Multiple pitches allow you to customize your approach. I’m a marketing and public relations consultant with various kinds of clients, and a journalist and broadcaster. I use what’s appropriate based on the person I’m pitching.

– Practice your pitches. You can stand before a mirror to gauge your facial expressions. You can practice with your dog or cat. If they walk away before your pitch is done, you are boring. Try your pitch out on a colleague. Find the fine balance between informative and bragging. I’m quick to brag about my clients’ accomplishments, and less likely to brag about my role in making them a success.

– A pitch is a means to an end, not the end. Thank the person for their time. Follow it up with a short email or tweet thanking them for chatting with you. So few people do this, and when you do, it’s memorable.

Some resources:


The Muse:




Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn.


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