7 Keys to an Effective Elevator Pitch

Ah the 30-Second Commercial… also known as an elevator pitch or elevator speech. The elevator pitch gets its name from literally being able to introduce yourself and answer the question “What do you do?” within the 30 seconds it takes to ride the elevator up to your floor. The kicker is that your time is very limited and the other person has a short attention span, thus being able to answer succinctly and in a manner that secures the other person’s interest is the golden goose for professionals and sales folks everywhere.
At CERTUS Networking Events, we realize the importance of allowing professionals the opportunity to introduce themselves to the group. It gives everyone a chance to know who is there and what they offer in case they or someone they know would be a suitable, strategic partner for them.

Here are 7 keys to keep in mind as you formulate your own elevator pitch.

  1. Watch The Clock. Be mindful of how long you are talking. If you are delivering a 30-second introduction to the group at a networking event, DO NOT exceed the time allotment as doing so is disrespectful, distracting, paints you in a negative light and can create resentment of you. Practice your pitch and time yourself if you have to so that you have a feel for how quickly 30 seconds goes by.
  2. Be Focused and Succinct. If you have more than one business or if you offer multiple products or services, focus on ONLY one. Rattling off a list of what you offer is boring and you will lose everyone’s attention. Eliminate distracting fluff phrases such as “You heard this last week,” “What a great group today” or “I’m offering a new service now.” These are examples of fluff phrases that eat up precious time, are distracting and don’t add value.
  3. Keep Your Audience In Mind. It’s important to be flexible depending upon your audience. The composition of your audience will change so have a couple elevator pitches to choose from or alter it so you can best appeal to your audience. If your standard introduction appeals to most people, it’s ok to use the same one.  Not everyone has heard it and don’t assume people already know who you are or what you do, even if you have previously met everyone in the room.
  4. Highlight Benefits. It is imperative to highlight the benefits, NOT features, of what you offer. What pain do you solve or what is the specific result you help customers achieve? Listeners cannot always connect the dots from product features to how it benefits them or someone they know. Go through this exercise to create compelling benefits. Write down one of your features and answer the following question from your listeners’ perspective… So? How does that help me? Your answer to the question is the benefit. Continue asking the question to identify more benefits. For example, with CERTUS™ Networking Events, one feature is that we attract professionals who show up at events ready to help others. You might ask, So? How does that help me? Benefit: You will meet professionals who won’t hard sell you on their products. So? How does that help me? Benefit: You will build deeper relationships. So? How does that help me? Benefit: Forming relationships enables people the opportunity to know you and introduce you to others. So? How does that help me? Benefit: You will be connected to people who can help you grow your business faster and more easily. Bingo – the mack daddy of all benefits! You get the picture. Go through the exercise and communicate the most compelling benefit(s).
  5. Tell A Story or Share a Quote. Being memorable captures attention and goes a long way to explain how you help others so don’t be shy about sharing a brief story, quote or testimonial that conveys your most compelling benefit. Be mindful of your time. Your name and story might take up the entire 30 seconds and that’s ok (just don’t go over).
  6. Leave ‘Em Wanting More. You will not be able to go into the story of how you got to where you are today, therefore you will invariably leave gaps in explaining “what you do” and that’s ok. The best thing that can happen is for someone to approach you after an event to ask questions because you piqued their interest and left them wanting to know just a little bit more. When you are approached, be mindful of points 1 through 5 above as you answer and share more information. 😉
  7. Close With A Catchy Tagline.  If people can recite your catchy slogan or tagline, you know you have done a great job and will be remembered.  I have heard some of the same taglines for years and can recite them which is a very good thing. “Garvin’s Sewer Service… we clean drains not bank accounts.” ~Kris Jordan


When someone asks you “What do you do?” they are they are secretly hoping you have a fascinating and quick answer!

The elevator pitch is not meant to make a sale or close a deal, but rather to give just enough information to pique the interest of your listener and make them want to inquire for more information. It’s difficult to know whether your elevator pitch packs a powerful punch that will lead to follow up conversations, however keeping the above 7 factors in mind is a good place to start.

See also: Does Your 30-Second Introduction Get You “In” or Show You The Way “Out”?Elements of an Effective 30-Second Introduction

Sabrina Risley

Sabrina Risley is a master connector. She’s been hosting live networking events since 2004 and has welcomed 20,000+ professionals to those events. She shares her observations, insights and tips of how the top 2% of effective and magnetic networkers build their businesses. She also shares what NOT to do when networking. Get her complimentary e-book: Strategic Networking for Success.
Sabrina Risley

20 thoughts on “7 Keys to an Effective Elevator Pitch”

  1. One of the most valuable pieces of our marketing is our elevator pitch! Being able to concisely state the benefits we provide to our ideal clients is paramount to networking success (and business success as a whole.) Great article!

  2. Sabrina –

    I echo your comments here. A well-crafted 30 second introduction is the key to attracting clients, differentiating yourself from your competition and growing your business.

    The growth of my last business is proof of that!


  3. Nate… you always have the BEST 30 second commercials. The amazing thing about yours is that you rarely mention your business or line of work yet you have professionals scamper to talk to you after the event because you left them intrigued and wanting to learn more. Truly a sight to behold!

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  6. You are THE networker Sabrina! I love your articles and you always hit the mark when it comes to networking. Thank you for sharing your “words of wisdom.” Listening,keep your audience in mind holds true as well as building those relationships.

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  8. Hi Jeff… I’m glad you found the information helpful and I’m honored by your feedback. I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment. ~Sabrina

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