Delivering a Memorable Elevator Pitch
Let’s face it. How many pitches given by other people do you actually remember after hearing them for the first time? Do you even remember your pitch from one event to the next?
I find it hard to pay attention to the other people giving pitches in the room when my nerves are building in anticipation of giving mine. It therefore takes a pitch with personality to capture my attention and get me out of my head as I await my turn. Can you relate?
What makes a pitch stand out?
The most effective pitches I can recall grabbed my attention immediately, evoked laughter or strong feelings, and often ended with a clever tagline. I found myself drawn to the people who gave them, wanting to get to know them and add them to my network. In fact I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. There was often a line of folks waiting to speak to these people at the end of the networking event.
I tend to lump together the pitches that don’t stand out in my mind. They are made up of low-energy, flat, and vague statements that don’t resonate with me. They often contain filler words, hesitations, and restarts that distract me from the message. They are not memorable.
What does it take to deliver a memorable pitch?
- Create, write out, and memorize a 30-second pitch. (Read my blog post, “Crafting an Effective 30- Second Elevator Pitch“, for a simple pitch planner.)
- Project your voice to be heard in the back of the room. (Do so by inhaling deeply and squeezing your abdominal muscles as you speak on the exhale. This also helps prevent shakiness in your voice.)
- Breathe when you feel you are running out of air – even if it’s before the end of the sentence. A good opportunity is where a comma would be if your sentence were in writing.
- Establish eye contact with as many people as possible during your pitch.
- Make sure the emotions behind your words are being conveyed. (Your facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures should all be in sync with what you want your audience to feel.)
- Speak in simple, complete sentences, and pause slightly between them. (This is harder than it sounds.)
- Use changes in pitch, volume, and rate to emphasize key words and phrases in your pitch.
- Do something different – bring a prop, use an unexpected gesture, give an example, sing.
- Smile (at least at the beginning and end of your pitch).
- Keep your energy flowing through the entire pitch. Don’t let your voice trail off at the ends of sentences.
- Remain standing until you have completed your pitch. (This seems obvious, but many people start to sit down before they finish speaking!)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free 10-minute pitch-coaching session over the phone.
Oh, and did I mention practice?