Perform perfectly with the Elevator Pitch

A pitch is a short summary of a story - often a novel or perhaps a screenplay - in a few sentences. The elevator pitch is a particularly short summary. Imagine you're getting into an elevator on the first floor, and with you in the elevator happens to be the head of the company or the representative of a major investor, the very person you want to support your project. So, you have exactly the time the elevator needs to go to one of the higher floors. During this time, you need to give an absolutely rousing speech that will completely convince your boss or the investor of your project. This speech would be the elevator pitch. Summarize your project in one or two minutes maximum, as concisely as you can. Put all the important information in this pitch and mention all the benefits. Convince without stating boring facts. Sweep your counterpart along! Many novelists hone their elevator pitch for weeks and then memorize it, just in case they get an unexpected opportunity at some point. With these pitches, every single word sinks in and the listener is also engaged on an emotional level.
Four people leave an elevator, a man in focus smiles contentedly.

Pitches in business

Many projects fail because there is simply no one to really pitch for them. This is also because the originator of a great business idea, start-up idea or project idea is simply not able to explain how great the project actually is. Those who can give rousing speeches are much more likely to get the funding, the attention of investors, or the chance to make their project a reality. You rarely actually need your elevator pitch during an elevator ride. At trade shows, online meetings, chance encounters, and regular get-togethers, it can't hurt to have your ideas presentably ready. In order to stand out from a large crowd of competitors and catch the eye of decision makers, it is advisable to apply the AIDA principle. AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire and action. First you have to get the attention of your counterpart, then arouse his interest, then create a desire in him and finally get him to take action based on this desire.

Pitch content

Keeping the AIDA principle in mind, first formulate your key message. It must be clear who you are and what you offer. If your company offers several things or you want to improve or achieve several things with your project, always focus on the main objective. You'll still get enough time later for anything ancillary or embellished - but not if you can't convince the first time. It also needs to be clearly stated who your product or service is designed for. So, an industry or target group must be mentioned. And then be sure to mention your unique selling proposition, i.e., what can you do that your competitors can't. What makes you or your idea unique?

Structure of pitches

After the content has been clarified, take a look at the structure of successful pitches. The right perspective is often crucial. All vendors present themselves in a positive light, that's a given. But in order to arouse real interest and also desire, try presenting your product or idea as the customer perceives it from his perspective. Does your product give the customer a decisive advantage in the battle with his competitors? Can he open up new markets with your help? Can he save a lot of money or perhaps use more sustainable methods? Besides the perspective, the beginning of a pitch is very important. If you manage to arouse interest right from the first sentence, you have already half convinced the customer or investor. Beginnings that actively involve the listener in the conversation right from the start have proven to be promising. For example, "Did you know that..." or a question that begins with "What if...". Even a vision such as "Imagine in 2030..." can get the listener to respond more strongly than a simple statement. Direct and specific questions are always helpful to engage the counterpart. At the end of the pitch, there should always be some kind of call-to-action. You are certainly familiar with this from the Internet.


In every pitch, it is important that you blow the listener away. Ideally, you'll create a real WOW effect. Take a look at how the pros do it. With fascinating facts or amazing anecdotes, you can score points at a party flirtation as well as in a business meeting. Deliver something surprising or unusual that your counterpart will not soon forget. Gladly something with a touch of humor. And lastly, make use of another tool that comes from the field of novel writing: show don't tell. In other words, you should show something rather than tell it. Avoid long-winded descriptions of your product or idea. Or preferably any kind of description at all. Rather, use a story or example to show how the product will work and what benefits it will bring. Point out the benefits and create a concrete image in the mind of your counterpart. Head cinema is an important keyword.

The right appearance

Under no circumstances should your pitch sound like a memorized poem. Try to unpack your acting skills. Eye contact is important. Don't read off the pitch. Body language matters. Use gestures and bring a prototype to the first meeting. Haptic stimuli should not be underestimated. Now here we are moving away a bit from the chance meeting in the elevator, but many pitches are used in business meetings to get the perfect response. There's no harm in really rehearsing your pitch, in front of the mirror, like an actor. Especially for presentations that go well beyond the two minutes of a pitch, it's important that you don't get carried away with time. What you read off a Power Point slide in five minutes is not congruent with the time that will pass in the real presentation. Art pauses, emphasis, eye contact, a gesture... all of these will make the presentation take significantly longer. Good luck with your next elevator pitch!
Author: IAPM internal

Key words: Project management, Guide, Psychology, Tip

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