Five Tips for an Elevator Pitch

October 29, 2013

Better elevator pitch - brevity“I have only made this letter longer
because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”
Blaise Pascal 1657


If you ever need to give a short pitch – an elevator pitch – for your fund or your business you know how tough it is.

For example, if you are a fund manager pitching to a room full of investors managing nearly $1 trillion, you want to make the right impression.  Having just chaired an elevator pitch session here at Fund Forum in Boston, I could see the positive impact made by those who prepared their pitch and put on a great performance.

While five minutes is longer than the average elevator pitch, these tips will help you with both short and long pitches:

1. Keep your story simple.   In 5 minutes you will only speak around 5-700 words.  You cannot afford to waste time.  Talk about your audience and their interests.  Say less.  Edit ruthlessly.

2. Use big bold ideas.  You are fighting for attention. The bigger your ideas, the easier it is to connect with your audience and the easier it is to stand out.

3. Aim to be memorable – Anyone can talk for 5 minutes.  Few people can make an impact.  Work out what you can say that will stick.  Find something unusual, different or unique.

4. Short sentences, clear language – Use short phrases, simple words, and plenty of pauses.

5. Start and End with impact  – the beginning and end of your talk matter most.  Start with a bang and finish with a strong take-away line.

Often, it’s the shortest elevator pitches that are hardest to deliver well.  But, when you get it right it’s a powerful way of communicating – particularly if you are faced with a room of investors managing $1 trillion.


Good luck.

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