Imagine yourself going about your business day after a long meeting. You may have just had your third cup of coffee and are daydreaming about 5:00. You press the up button on the elevator, the doors open and boom, there stands in front of you an interested investor, creative or entrepreneur that has been wanting to talk to you about your newest idea or venture. You start to sweat, your mind goes blank and before you know it you have babbled your way up to the 40th floor and you can't even remember what you said as you shake the person's hand with your sweaty palm and say your farewell. This scenario is what many young entrepreneurs play out in their mind time after time as they develop their first few business plans. The elevator pitch has become one of the most feared parts of being an entrepreneur. People freak themselves out and end up selling themselves short in idea sharing conversations. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I have experienced the stressful babbling pitches, however as I have gained confidence I have begun to walk away from a short conversation feeling like I hit a grand slam. Here is my advice for the elevator pitch:
- It is a casual conversation. Do not all of a sudden put on an announcers voice or start using big words. People are impressed with genuine passion and knowledge of your idea.
- Keep it simple and get your main points across. If people want to know the nitty gritty details, they will ask.
- Do not saturate the conversation. Allow the other person to share their ideas and if they ask you specifically about your business, then you can share your newest plans.
- Ask people what you can do for them before you expect them to help you. No one wants to listen to a pitch when they can tell you are just trying to use them.
- If giving a formal pitch in front of a crowd, do not stare at your presentation. You should know your facts well enough that you can engage with your audience.
- Relax, practice, take a deep breath, exude confidence and enjoy the world of entrepreneurial pitches. Also, do not forget to smile, this is fun stuff.
Not every pitch is going to be perfect and not every one will be a flop. The more practice you can get and the more people you can get in front of, the better off your presentation is going to be. It can be tough to take in new ideas or criticisms, but know at the end of the day your finished product will be that much stronger. Good luck!