Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Six Tips For Giving Great Elevator Pitches

Getting community and business leaders to understand or care about complex things isn’t always easy.  They are almost always smart enough, just not always good enough listeners or readers or maybe, like I’m often accused, they just don’t really listen or read all the way through!

Here are six excellent tips from the Brothers Heath on how to make complex messages simple:images


An elevator pitch is a mixture of an explanation and a sales pitch. It's intended to get people excited about your organization, your new product, or even you personally (in an interview situation). Here's how to give a good one:

1. Think short - no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than 3 minutes. Time it.

2. If your topic is complex, use the "anchor & twist" format to orient your audience.

3. Don't wing it, script it. Once you've figured out how to explain something well, there is NO value in novelty. Tell it the same (effective) way every time.

4. 'Why' comes before 'What.' People will understand better what you're doing if they first know why you're doing it. Here's an example: "Most people invest some of their savings and give some of it away to charity. Wouldn't it be nice if you could do both at once -- get interest AND impact? That's why we invented the Calvert Community Investment Notes."

5. Mandatory: Include a story. For a product pitch, tell a customer's story. For a nonprofit pitch, talk about the people you help. For self-promotion, highlight a time when you nailed it.

6. Check out other pitches for inspiration. Here's one that we worked on for Peter Singer's great book, The Life You Can Save. And here's a great article about elevator pitches, starring Dave Yewman and Andy Craig, the masters of the craft.

Republished from Dan and Chip Heath

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