How To Use An Elevator Pitch To Start Your Next Speech

An elevator pitch is a great way to start a speech
An elevator pitch is a great way to start a speech
Image Credit: Thilo M.

For years and years folks in sales and people who are looking for a job have been reminded of the importance of public speaking and told to master their “elevator pitch”. This pitch is a set of one or two short pre-scripted sentences that tell someone who you are and what you do. When you encounter someone for the first time who does not have a lot of time to listen to you, an elevator pitch can be a great way to deliver a lot of valuable information in a short period of time. Is it possible that an elevator pitch could be part of your next speech also?

The Power Of The Elevator Pitch

The reason that the elevator pitch is so effective is because it is both short and concise. When used by itself, an elevator pitch is designed to allow you to quickly and effectively communicate a great deal of information to another person in a very short period of time.

What your elevator pitch is is effectively a commercial for you. The thinking here is that most of the people that you’ll interact with during an average day are exposed to literally thousands of commercials each and every day. What you are going to have to do is to find a way to make your elevator pitch stand out. The best way to construct your elevator pitch to make it less “salesy” and more like an invitation to have a conversation with you.

When you are going to use your elevator pitch as the start of your next speech, you are going to want to include a “hook” in your elevator pitch. A hook is a short statement that will attract your audience’s attention. This is the kind of thing that you going to have to do if you want to capture your audience’s attention from the very beginning of your speech.

How To Create An Effective Elevator Pitch

If you are going to use your elevator pitch as the start of your next speech in order to introduce yourself to your audience, what will your elevator pitch need to include? The hook is going to be a critical part. It turns out that there are four key elements that work together to make a great hook:

  • Keep It Short: Let’s face it, the attention span of the average adult has been getting shorter and shorter. What this means for you is that the hook that you use as a part of your elevator pitch is going to have to be kept short. 8-10 words is going to be your maximum length.
  • Confusion Is Good: The goal of any elevator pitch is to get the audience to both remember it and to become interested in who you are. By removing details from your elevator pitch, you’ll introduce confusion; however, at the same time you’ll prevent your audience from jumping to conclusions.
  • What Is Good, How Is Bad: This is where you are going to have to clearly state what you really do. When you are telling your audience what you do, focus on what their needs are, not what your job is. Tell them what you do and stay away from how you actually do it.
  • Tap Into Emotion: What we all need to remember is that our audience will respond to emotion. In order to tap into that emotion and to get their interest in you to increase, you need to include an action or feeling word in your hook. Words such as drive, hate, push, or love are great words for making this happen.

What All Of This Means For You

Having an effective elevator pitch that you know that works is one of the benefits of public speaking. The next time that you’ve been asked to deliver a speech, consider using your elevator pitch to start your speech off. The elevator pitch that you should have already developed is an effective way to quickly describe who you are and what you do.

Including your elevator pitch at the start of your speech will allow you to quickly answer your audience’s #1 question: who are you and why should I listen to you? Take the time to create an effective hook for your elevator pitch. Then go the extra step and make it short, make it confusing, tell people what you do, but not how, and be sure to include and action or feeling word.

Every time we give a speech we are in a battle with our audience for control over their attention. Using an effective elevator pitch at the start of your speech is a great way to win this battle. Create an effective elevator pitch and then put it to work for you in your next speech!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that your elevator pitch should be?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The reason that we give speeches is because we want to change the world — that’s what the importance of public speaking is all about. No, we may not end up changing it in some big way, but we’d at least like to change the way that the audience that we’re talking to views their world. If we can do this than yes, we will have created change just by giving a speech. Now the big question comes: how are we going to go about doing this? The answer is simple: persuasion.