How to Make Your Elevator Pitch Stronger

by Debra Bednar-Clark

I recently attended an awesome networking event called the Cereal Entrepreneurs breakfast. The goal of it is to bring together CEOs and founders in the New York tech world, many of whom left their “traditional careers” to launch a startup. With my background leaving Facebook and Microsoft to create my career and style consultancy, DB+co, this event was right up my alley.

However, being in that room was equal parts inspiring and intimidating (and not just because some attendees had already secured $5 million in funding!). I felt myself get a little anxious when the moderators asked each attendee to go around the room and introduce themselves, their business, and a single ask that they wanted to make of the group… in one minute or less. I kept thinking: What do I say when I’m put on the spot?

The answer: My one-minute elevator pitch.

I must admit, the power of the one-minute elevator pitch is SO REAL. You simply never know where your next job, partnership, life-changing advice, etc. will come from, so you need to be on your toes and ready at any time for when people ask you some form of the question, “What’s your deal?” It’s the ultimate way to provide your story arch on your terms, so people can ground themselves in who you are and how they can connect with you.  

Then, you need to get it right.

A great elevator pitch includes:
  1. who you are
  2. who you serve
  3. what you do
  4. how you do it differently
  5. what you want…(make an ask!)
… and can be said in one minute or less.

(Bonus: Evolve your one-minute elevator pitch as your career evolves.)

In my case, that’s what I relied on when I heard we needed to make an on-the-spot introduction. Rather than get distracted and nervous thinking about what I was going to say during all the other intros during the breakfast (I went last!), I pulled out my trusty one-minute elevator pitch. At this point, I know who I am, who I serve, what I’m trying to solve, why my approach is unique and what I want to realize my mission — and how to communicate it in one minute or less. Can you say the same?

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