An elevator pitch (elevator presentation) is a short, informative and concise presentation of a business idea for a product. The idea behind it is that the presentation should be carried out in the short time it takes an elevator ride. So the elevator pitch does not require the entire business plan to be presented, but rather to arouse the audience’s curiosity within a very short time (in 30 seconds to three minutes) so that they are then ready for a detailed discussion.
The reasons for an elevator pitch are manifold and can arise at any time. Whether at trade shows, parties, public appearances, in e-mails or on your homepage, in front of investors or potential customers, short, captivating presentations are gaining in importance everywhere. An effective elevator pitch is like a short theatrical production that should be remembered by the listener. Now it doesn’t leave a special impression if you just recite,
- who you are,
- what you do and
- what others get out of it.
Instead, it is recommended in most cases to build the dramaturgy of your elevator pitch according to the AIDA principle:
- Attention (Aufmerksamkeit),
- Interest (Interesse),
- Desire (Wünsche),
- Action (Aktion).
To impress your listener, you have to put yourself in their shoes. Therefore ask yourself the following questions in advance:
- Are you facing a potential investor, customer, supplier, cooperation partner or employee?
- What interests him the most?
- What can you bait him with?
Already in the first few seconds, it decides whether you can attract the attention of your listener. To make this happen, there are various ways to get started.
- Powerful question: It starts with a question word and invites the listener to give an answer. This stimulates the listener’s imagination and creativity. Example: Why is it actually not possible …?
- Interesting story: Report about an event that happened to you or someone else, where a problem arose for which there is no solution yet. In this respect, it is important that the listener can get involved in the story. Of course, it is best if they have had the problem before. In this way he can more easily imagine the advantages of your product. Example: The following happened to me the other day: …“
- Metaphor: Try to paint pictures in the mind of the listener. The use of pictorial analogies is especially advantageous when the actual subject matter is complicated. Example: Imagine a world in which …
- Surprising information: Make a statement about a fact that is not known to most people. It is important that this fact triggers emotions, especially outrage, which reflexively motivates people to look for a solution. Example: Studies have shown that …”.
As soon as you have the listener’s attention, it is important to arouse their interest in your project. Explain,
- what the core problem of your potential customers is,
- to what extent your product solves this problem,
- what benefit the customer gets from your product,
- what you do differently than your competitors (emphasize unique selling points!).
Do not reveal the real trick of how your product solves the customer’s problem. These details should only be explained in follow-up meetings.
The next step is to make the listener want to know more about your project. It is important to remember that it is not just numbers, data and facts that move people, but rather what your idea means to them. It is therefore important to find out which wishes of the listener can be realized with your business idea. The possibilities are manifold:
- Profit: Explain what economic benefits the listener will gain from your project, for example high returns for investors, good order situation for suppliers, cost reductions or time savings for customers.
- Joy: Let them see how much fun their counterpart can have with your product.
- Safety: Explain how a concrete problem of the listener can be solved by your product.
- Recognition: State the extent to which your business idea is beneficial to the image or prestige of the listener.
- Altruism: People are social beings. They are not always concerned with their own advantage, but would like to help other people. Therefore, show how far the listener can contribute to making the world a better place.
If you have been successful with your elevator pitch, you will either be given a follow-up appointment or at least a promise from the listener that they will take a closer look at your business idea. Take advantage of this opportunity and make an appointment directly. Or you can send your documents to the listener as soon as possible before his interest wanes because he is again dealing with other topics.
With the Elevator Pitch you will not only convince with your content but also with your personal charisma. To make your elevator pitch a success, you should therefore observe the following rules:
- Radiate enthusiasm, so that the spark can jump over to the listener.
- Assume an upright posture to give the listeners self-confidence and energy.
- Keep direct eye contact. This gives your counterpart the impression of being addressed personally and being part of your business idea.
- Pay attention to your hand movements. Hands are important means of communication with which you can draw attention to yourself and describe things. Do not put your hands in your pocket, do not play around with anything and do not point your finger at your listener! If you don’t know what to do with your hands, just keep them above your waist.
- Speak clearly so that the listener can understand you.
- Speak a little slower than you normally do. This will help you concentrate on what you want to say and will help you to avoid getting lost.
- Take an occasional break. The listener must be able to follow your thoughts.
- Modulate your voice a little bit, for example, speak sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly and sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly. A monotone voice pitch will cause boredom for the listener after a certain time.
- Avoid foreign words, abbreviations or technical terms. Otherwise there is a risk that the listener does not know certain terms and therefore cannot follow your explanations.
- Speak in pictures if possible. In this way you will anchor your content emotionally better in the brain of your counterpart.
- Practice makes perfect! It is advisable not only to rehearse the elevator pitch on your own, but also to perform it with family or friends. Let these people give you feedback.
 Vgl. Bohinc (2014) und Skambraks (2012).