The Elevator Pitch: The Old Dog Still Has a Few Tricks

Some might argue the elevator pitch is dead. I disagree but will admit it’s in desperate need of a makeover. After months of working in a virtual world (many of us still do), we crave authentic connections. Our conversations, our bios, our first impressions all require more than just the details. They demand clarity, engagement and genuine rapport. Here's my example.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to write a screenplay. I had a good story but never attempted anything so daunting. So, I bought a couple of guidebooks including "Screenwriting for Dummies" and taught myself how to format a script and the terminology, and just started typing. When I finished, I wanted to see if it had potential, so I entered the script into a couple of screenwriting contests. Well, it won.

Feeling confident, and probably a little too cocky, I decided to pitch my script to movie studios at The Great American Pitch Fest. Think speed dating but with manuscripts. You have one minute to pitch your entire story in front of studio executives. I had the perfect elevator pitch. Or so I thought, until one executive said candidly, "I don't understand the character arc." And he was right. I spent months, head down, banging out a beautiful script. But when it came to my pitch, I provided the nuts and bolts of my story but failed to deliver the compelling emotion that drives people to the theatre. The same can be said for the clients we represent.

As a member of the emerging innovation team at Spectrum Science we support early-stage health tech and biotech companies. I’m a former journalist, so the first question I have for company CEOs and scientists during media trainings is, “What’s your elevator pitch?” In some cases, they don’t have one. They’ve spent years grinding away, head down in the lab, creating amazing technology that can literally change human health. But what some can’t do in a quick pitch is clearly, concisely and authentically explain what the company and more importantly who it benefits. This pitch, call it a character arc, is vital when you have a minute or less to tell a potential investor, customer or journalist about their technology, why they created it and the people whose lives will change because of it.

Granted, it’s challenging to communicate a business or even oneself in less than a minute. However, the goal is to get the listener to ask, "Tell me more." Now more than ever, that's why the pitch must be authentic and clear.

How do you make that connection? Here’s a quick starter guide:

  1. Memorable first impression: The "hook." What do you want people to remember most? Is it inspiring or emotional?
  2. Concise communication: Attention spans are shrinking. What essential elements must be included in your pitch?
  3. The why: Why do you do your job and how does it impact others?
  4. Engagement: What’s the catalyst that forces the listener to care and ask, "Tell me more."
  5. Differentiation: What makes you unique?
  6. Adaptability: How can you customize your pitch for a specific target audience, individual or social media bio?
  7. Confidence: Have you practiced aloud or shared with a colleague? A well-rehearsed and confident delivery of your elevator pitch will boost your confidence.

Regardless of the size of your company, well-established or early stage, our goal at Spectrum Science is to help you develop a personalized and connected experience with your audience every step of the way. How can we help you reach your audience?

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