The Art of the Elevator Pitch

Success or failure sometimes depends upon verbal agility in the moment.

Whether you’re building your own business, seeking investors, or simply trying to jump-start your career, opportunity can present itself precipitously.  Your ability to articulate who you are and what you do, in a compelling, memorable and remarkable way, can propel your business or career to new heights in the time it takes for a short elevator ride.

The art of performing instantaneously in this fashion is called an elevator pitch.

Whether opportunity knocks in an elevator,  a business meeting, an email or a chance encounter, you must be prepared.

Like an accomplished poet, you must be able to express yourself with brevity and art.

According to the Harvard Business School, you should be able to convey the following salient points:

  • What you would most like the listener to remember about you.
  • The value you or your company bring in terms of key results or impact.
  • The unique benefits you or your company bring to business.
  • How what you do is different or better than others.
  • What your immediate goals are.
  • What you expect the listener to do.

For these fortuitous encounters and accidents of fortune, you must prepare yourself carefully and with precision.  Reduce these key thoughts to as few words as possible, commit them to memory, and then practice until you can deliver your pitch as if it was springing forth extemporaneously.  This will be a daunting task and an investment of many hours, but if done properly will be the best investment you ever make.

To assist in this effort, the Harvard Business School has created an ingenious tool:  The HBS Elevator Pitch Builder, pictured below.  Simply click on the image, follow the instructions, and begin the most important exercise of your career.


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About Michael R.H. Stewart
"Give me faith, freedom, resources, and a little time ... and I will make things happen that matter." Michael R.H. Stewart is a respected Internet executive with broad experience in all aspects of online business, with an emphasis given to social networking development, and company management. He has over 131,000 engaged Twitter followers. He enjoys 22 years of direct experience with corporate, entrepreneurial, governmental and non-profit clients, having advised them on all aspects of their online initiatives. Prior to his Internet career, he served as a Senior Vice President of AIG Marketing, doing business in 135 foreign countries as well as the United States. Stewart is an experienced public speaker and communicator, with worldwide experience; an expert on corporate branding; an accomplished writer, a creative thinker and problem solver.

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