When you only have a small window of opportunity to make a lasting impression, it's crucial to be prepared long before a chance encounter.
In her book Small Message, Big Impact, Fortune 500 consultant Terri Sjodin discusses the most effective ways to deliver an elevator pitch. She's given us permission to outline the best tips from her book here:
1. Know exactly what you want the outcome to be
Whether to get the ball rolling on a job or project or something larger, you should know exactly what you want from this presentation before you plan on going out and executing it.
"Your message is like your song, and you have to let it be heard," Sjodin wrote. "Believe in it, share it, and eventually, it becomes a natural part of your communication."
If you don't have an aim or goal for what you're setting out to accomplish, there won't be much conviction or direction in your message.
2. Tell your audience what they'll get from your proposal
Use "Monroe's Motivated Sequence" to be informative and persuasive in your speech:
1. Gain their attention by being able to relate to them.
2. Convince your target that they "need" your services or product.
3. Satisfy their problems with a suitable solution.
4. Get your audience to visualize their future with your product or service.
5. Tell your audience exactly what you want them to do today and exactly how to do it, and explain what you will do once they have made a decision to move forward.
3. Speak in your own authentic voice
Unless you practice your speech, you won't be able to speak with poise and polish. And with poise and polish comes certainty and confidence. Finding the right words and using a comprehensive vocabulary will allow you to make your case with conviction.
4. Control movement to attract your audience
Is there a way you should walk and pace to best control your audience's attention? Sjodin has created a six-position approach to aligning your stance and movement:
1. Start in the center of the room to make your introduction.
2. Take 2-3 slight steps to the right, plant your feet and make your first point.
3. Then walk 3-4 steps back to the center and make your second point.
4. Next, go 3-4 steps further to the left and make your third point.
5. Walk slightly ahead and towards the center to start your conclusion.
6. Finally, finish your conclusion by taking 1-2 steps forward.
5. Break down each talking point
You can break it down into:
1. Argument: You have to show your audience why they need you, your company and your product.
2. Proof: Use statistics, stories or analogies to make your point and satisfy your audience so they'll have the incentive to need you.
3. Visualization: After your argument and proof, your audience may be thinking "so what?" You need to show your audience what your argument means to them and how it will directly benefit them both immediately and down the line.
6. Close in an unforgettable way
You spent all this time on developing your argument, but getting your audience to make the next step is crucial. It's the reason you came up with this speech in the first place.
At this point, you should have engaged and enticed your listener or listeners in a creative and mildly clever way.
If you don't build a strong argument with a compelling case for why your pitch should matter, you won't be taken seriously.