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How to Create a Perfect Elevator Pitch (Examples Included!)

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“Tell me about yourself”

“What do you do?

“So, what’s your story?”

These are common questions asked during networking events and interviews. They’re difficult to answer because you can respond with almost anything.

How should you start and end your response? What’s an appropriate respond length? What should I include in my response?

Luckily, there is a foolproof way to answer these questions: by using your elevator pitch.

This guide will explain the importance of your elevator pitch. It will also help you craft an incredible pitch that you can use for interviews, networking events, and other social gatherings.

Let’s get started!

What is an Elevator Pitch? When Should I Use It?

An elevator pitch, otherwise known as an elevator speech, is a short but powerful response you give to someone who asks about your background.

There are three kinds of elevator pitches:

  • Two-minute pitch

Use the two-minute pitch for interviews. This is the perfect response to the “Tell me about yourself” question.

  • 45-second pitch

Use the 45-second pitch for formal networking events. Your response will establish your background and qualifications.

  • 15-second pitch

Use the 15-second pitch for informal gatherings. This is an excellent response for when you meet someone on a train or at dinner.

Why is an Elevator Pitch Important?

It is said that 93% of human communication is nonverbal, while only 7% is verbal.

  • This means that “how” you say something is more important than what you actually say.

An elevator pitch helps you explain your background and qualifications with confidence. When you know what you’re doing to say, you’ll state it with passion and clarity.

The elevator pitch also demonstrates that you’ve done your due diligence.

  • Specifically, people who can convey their background with clarity inspire confidence in others.

It also demonstrates strong soft skills, which all CEOs and other high-performing professionals possess.

Well, How Do I Create a Great Elevator Pitch?

Your elevator pitch is just one part of networking with skill. Therefore, you need to supplement it with the following.

Confident Body Language

  • Firm handshake
  • Shoulders back
  • Neck straight
  • Eye contact
  • Fluidity of speech

Practice

Make sure to practice your pitch in front of a mirror. If that’s too hard, you can stand up in the middle an empty room and pretend to speak with someone.

  • You can also practice your pitch while cooking, brushing your teeth, or running errands. All you need to do is know what you want to say and state it slowly.

In my opinion, the best way to practice is with a trusted friend. In a no-judgment zone, state your elevator pitch. Do this until you get it right 10 times in a row. It’ll be hard at first, but this experience will greatly improve your confidence.

Breathe

Don’t rush through your elevator pitch. After stating one or two lines, take a deep breath and collect yourself.

Not only will this calm you down, but it’ll also help you think of your next lines.

Start Your Elevator Pitch From Scratch

Get a blank piece of paper, Word or Google Doc, flash cards, or pull up a notepad app on your phone.

This is where you’ll record the first draft of your elevator pitch.

What Should I Include In My Elevator Pitch?

Generally, there are three critical aspects of a two-minute elevator pitch. It’s best to first create the two-minute pitch and then cut it down for the shorter version.

You’re going to include these four elements:

  1. Top-line introduction
  2. What I’ve Done
  3. What I’m Doing
  4. Where I Want to Go

You can order these parts in your elevator pitch any way you like. I recommend prioritizing the things you want people to remember.

You might get interrupted during your elevator pitch, so order it according to importance.

What does each part mean?

Part 1: The Introduction

This section is straightforward. In one or two sentences, what are you best known for? What do you want people to know you as?

This can include:

  • Your professional role

For example: Computer engineer, developer, political assistant, manager of operations, chief executive officer, head accountant, founder

  • Informal title

For example: Entrepreneur, writer, mentor, journalist

Then, put your introduction together:

I’m Jason Patel, the founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company with a 100% client satisfaction rate. We help students get into the top schools in the country.

Or:

Hey, I’m Sean McVay. I serve as a head developer at GSOT IT Systems. I’m also a mentor to 11 young men who aspire to become business leaders.

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Part 2: What I’ve Done

This is where you’ll mention pertinent qualifications from your academic or work history.

Hint: If you’re several years out of school, there’s no need to mention academic history.

Before beginning this section, think about whether you need to custom-tailor your elevator pitch for a specific industry. This is important if you’re:

  • Applying for an internship or job
  • Meeting professionals at an industry event
  • Networking with investors who want to know more about your background

Otherwise, you can mention top-line or sweeping aspects of your background.

In this section, you can include:

  • Past job duties
  • Career-defining moments
  • Accomplishments or projects you’re proud of
  • Numbers, figures, and percentages that highlight your successes
  • Results you’ve procured
  • Companies you’ve worked for and with
  • Certifications and/or degrees earned
  • What drives and motivates you
  • A personal story that represents you well

Now, let’s combine this part with the intro (Part 1). The bolded parts are what we added:

For example:

Hi, my name is Jason Patel, and I’m the founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company that features a 100% client-satisfaction rate. We also donate a portion of profits to veterans and young professionals in need of college and career help.

I am a graduate of the George Washington University with a degree in political communication. I have served as a college coach for several years. My work has taken me to cities across the world, where I’ve helped students and professionals with college applications, writing, professional branding, and job searching.

Here’s another example:

Hey, I’m Sean McVay. I serve as a head developer at GSOT IT Systems. I’m also a mentor to 11 young men who aspire to become business leaders. I’ve worked on building AI systems for creative purposes, such as musical instruction and autonomous learning. In the past, I’ve also built highly responsive websites for major e-commerce platforms in the apparel and electronics industries.

Part 3: What I’m Doing

In this section, you’ll mention what you’re working on right now. This can include work, major projects, dissertations, or earning a degree or certification.

It’s best to communicate qualifications that relate to the industry you’re pursuing.

In other words, don’t talk about your interpersonal qualifications when you’re seeking a position as a financial analyst. Instead, mention your ability to work with numbers, balance tasks, and provide recommendations to clients.

Hint: If you’re looking for a job, try to avoid the generic-sounding “Currently seeking a position.” Instead, discuss how you’re sharpening your skills while looking for work.

If you’re a professional, you can discuss the following:

  • Current job duties
  • Projects you’re working on
  • Clients or industries you serve
  • Skills you’re sharpening
  • Initiatives keeping you busy

If you’re a student, discuss the classes, major, or projects you’re working on.

Let’s combine this section with the two previous sections – the Intro (Part 1) and What I’ve Done (Part 2). Again, the bolded parts are what we added:

For example:

Hi, my name is Jason Patel, and I’m the founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company that features a 100% client-satisfaction rate. We also donate a portion of profits to veterans and young professionals in need of college and career help.

I am a graduate of the George Washington University with a degree in political communication. I have served as a college coach for several years. My work has taken me to cities across the world, where I’ve helped students and professionals with college applications, writing, professional branding, and job searching.

Our customers love us, and our instruction and tutoring work. We’re a growing brand that has sent students to the best schools in the country, including Stanford, NYU, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon.

I work with my team to design college mentorship, college application, and career success boot camps that help our students succeed. We pay strong attention to customer service and make sure that our families have the resources and access to thrive during the stressful college process. I make sure each student partners with an awesome college mentor who will them him or her with college planning, essays, and narrative building. We also serve college students and professionals who need help with finding internships and jobs. We’re the best at resume critiques, building interview skills, and professional brand building. It’s my job to make sure our product is the best in industry.

I’m always building my management and marketing skills. I want students and families to know that we want to solve their problems, so I’m improving my SEO skills to ensure website visitors know they can reach out to us if they have questions. Although I’m a leader, I know I’m a work in progress.

Here’s another example:

Hey, I’m Sean McVay. I serve as a head developer at GSOT IT Systems. I’m also a mentor to 11 young men who aspire to become business leaders. I’ve worked on building AI systems for creative purposes, such as musical instruction and autonomous learning. In the past, I’ve also built highly responsive websites for major e-commerce platforms in the apparel and electronics industries.

Currently, I’m building customer portals to bring retail, brick-and-mortar businesses online. It’s a challenging project, but I’m thankful for it. I get a chance to learn more about transferring memberships from a point-of-sale system to the online gateway system. We’re working to integrate Stripe, a payment platform, to our website so our customers can purchase their products online. So far, we’ve grown 14% from last year and are looking to grow 50% over the entire year.

Better yet, I’m also working to integrate the payment system to the logistics gateway. You know what that means? We’re working on delivery! During the summer and holiday seasons, our customers across the state will be able to purchase products and have them delivered within a specific window. No more waiting in lines.

That’s what I love doing. Growing businesses and helping them acquire customers.

Part 3: Where I Want to Go

In this final section, you’ll discuss your goals. You can elaborate on your goals in the following windows. This will help you simplify your goal setting.

1. Short-term goals (within 3 years) can include:

  • Switching fields
  • Getting your first job
  • Starting business
  • Graduating from college
  • Finishing a book

2. Intermediate-term goals (within 5-7 years) can include:

  • Finding your place within an industry
  • Starting and publishing a study
  • Climbing the managerial ladder
  • Starting a family
  • Growing a business
  • Raising venture capital
  • Training to join a new industry
  • Going back to college

3. Long-term goals (7+ years)

  • Joining the C-suite
  • Getting your business acquired
  • Raising your kids
  • Writing an autobiography
  • Investing

If you’re planning on creating your elevator pitch for professional networking events in an industry you want to stay in, choose goals that relate to the industry.

Picking irrelevant goals runs the risk of coming off as uninterested or unmotivated.

Let’s combine this section with the three previous sections – the Intro (Part 1) and What I’ve Done (Part 2), and What I’m Doing (Part 3). As usual, the bolded parts are what we added:

Hi, my name is Jason Patel, and I’m the founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company that features a 100% client-satisfaction rate. We also donate a portion of profits to veterans and young professionals in need of college and career help.

I am a graduate of the George Washington University with a degree in political communication. I have served as a college coach for several years. My work has taken me to cities across the world, where I’ve helped students and professionals with college applications, writing, professional branding, and job searching.

Our customers love us, and our instruction and tutoring work. We’re a growing brand that has sent students to the best schools in the country, including Stanford, NYU, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon.

I work with my team to design college mentorship, college application, and career success boot camps that help our students succeed. We pay strong attention to customer service and make sure that our families have the resources and access to thrive during the stressful college process. I make sure each student partners with an awesome college mentor who will them him or her with college planning, essays, and narrative building. We also serve college students and professionals who need help with finding internships and jobs. We’re the best at resume critiques, building interview skills, and professional brand building. It’s my job to make sure our product is the best in industry.

I’m always building my management and marketing skills. I want students and families to know that we want to solve their problems, so I’m improving my SEO skills to ensure website visitors know they can reach out to us if they have questions. Although I’m a leader, I know I’m a work in progress.

Eventually, I want to grow Transizion into the foremost college and career prep company in the world. We’re going to be a force in closing the Opportunity Divide in America. The robots are coming. Automation is coming. It’s my job as an entrepreneur to prepare my customers and the greater public for the challenges ahead.

An additional goal is to increase our product offering and expand the network of college and career mentors that we hire. Our brand should precede us – people should know that our name stands for excellent customer service and outstanding mentorship.

Previous generations fought wars, totalitarianism, and fascism. Our generation’s job is to fight the Opportunity Divide. I want to become a leader that changes people’s attitudes toward the class divide in America. Only we can save the country. Only we can save each other.

Here’s another example:

Hey, I’m Sean McVay. I serve as a head developer at GSOT IT Systems. I’m also a mentor to 11 young men who aspire to become business leaders. I’ve worked on building AI systems for creative purposes, such as musical instruction and autonomous learning. In the past, I’ve also built highly responsive websites for major e-commerce platforms in the apparel and electronics industries.

Currently, I’m building customer portals to bring retail, brick-and-mortar businesses online. It’s a challenging project, but I’m thankful for it. I get a chance to learn more about transferring memberships from a point-of-sale system to the online gateway system. We’re working to integrate Stripe, a payment platform, to our website so our customers can purchase their products online. So far, we’ve grown 14% from last year and are looking to grow 50% over the entire year.

Better yet, I’m also working to integrate the payment system to the logistics gateway. You know what that means? We’re working on delivery! During the summer and holiday seasons, our customers across the state will be able to purchase products and have them delivered within a specific window. No more waiting in lines.

That’s what I love doing. Growing businesses and helping them acquire customers.

In that vector, I do want to start my own marketing company in the next 3-5 years. The company would focus on bringing complete marketing solutions to small and large businesses. Solutions would include email marketing, website building, social media branding, and all forms of inbound and outbound marketing. Assembling a brand around our products is the dream. Hey, maybe we can create plug-ins and software to compete in the SaaS space.

To be honest with you, another goal of mine is to travel. I’ve been working so hard over the years that I think a few months of exploring new cultures and perspectives would be healthy for my professional growth. I’ve been thriving in this bubble, but it’s important to expand my reach. This will help me further develop my vision.

More Elevator Pitch Examples

A young professional in Washington, DC:

My name is Mandy. I’m a legislative aide at the United States Capitol. I spend much of my time corresponding with constituents and aides from other offices on a wide range of issues.

I graduated from the George Washington University with a political science degree. I’m planning on attending part-time graduate school to pursue a master’s in health administration. Eventually, I want to work as a lobbyist for healthcare issues. I want to help expand Medicaid and lower the cost of prescription drugs.

From an MBA at Carnegie Mellon:

I’m Ben, and I attend Carnegie Mellon, where I’m pursuing a master’s in business administration. Two summers ago, I interned at AT&T. This past summer, I interned at Verizon, where I learned about operations management, human resources, and project management.

I want to stay in the communications technology sector because I know I can build a wide range of operations-related skills here. Right now, I am also studying for my PMP, so that’s taking up a lot of my time. My hope is to leverage it for opportunities in the tech sector – I want to lead teams to success.

This one’s from an analyst:

Hey there, I’m Dom. I work as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs. Since my goal is to become an investment banker, I’m putting in long hours helping my wing with investment decisions. Right now, I’m getting a lot of practice with analyzing data in the energy sector.

This job is demanding, and so are my colleagues. The opportunity has given me the chance to improve my communication and self-management skills.

I want to stay in the financial sector because I love numbers. Down the road, I’d like to work in venture capital or start my own investment-banking firm. I’m setting up the foundation for my dream by networking with established investors who can give me access to their connections.

From a mother entering the full-time workforce after raising children and working on side projects:

Hello, I’m Cynthia. For the past 10 years, I’ve worked with over 40 clients – from small businesses to law firms – helping them with their graphic design needs. I’m a skilled designer who can create infographics, brochures, booklets, covers, magazines, and branding assets from scratch.

I have the self-discipline to work remotely and address client needs in a timely manner. I always beat deadlines – it’s a part of my personal creed. Whether clients need help with Photoshop or InDesign, I’m your girl. I know how to create design assets that work for customers.

An artist who wants to develop his skills:

My name is Nick. As the founder of Nick’s Art & Graphics Studios, I bring over 5 years of experience in all kinds of photography. I’ve worked weddings, galas, diplomatic occasions, and sporting events. To be a skilled photographer, you need to know lighting, lens, and direction. But the most important thing is patience. Getting the right shot is never easy, but I have the experience to give you photos you’ll love.

I want to develop my expertise in multimedia so I can improve my product offering to customers. That’s why I’m learning Adobe After Effects to learn more about motion graphics. I’ve also hired two assistants and an intern to help me create beautiful media for my clients. I want to help them convey their brands to the world.

Eventually, I’d like to become the dominant media company in my city. I want to become the go-to resource for anyone, from students to professionals, who needs help with creating beautiful media. We’re expanding right now, so I’m doing all I can to better my skills.

From a student:

Hi, I’m Megan. Right now, I’m pursuing a degree in psychology from Ohio State. My coursework includes child and criminal psychology. To supplement my studies, I’m interning as a child-care specialist with Hope for Kiddos, where we work with students individually by talking about their problems at home and bettering their interpersonal skills with team activities.

I want to become a child psychologist because I love children and want to cultivate their young minds healthily. Hopefully, after putting in all my training hours, I can open up my own office. Down the road, I’d love to write a book on best practices for childcare psychologists and parents.

Advice from Professionals and Experts

We’ve taken the liberty to cite successful professionals and industry experts.

These opinions offer a first-person perspective on what makes a great elevator pitch.

Brian Lim, CEO of iHeartRaves, who appeared on Shark Tank and received deals from Mark Cuban and Daymond John:

If possible, get proof of concept before pitching. We focused on building our business without any outside funding for many years before pitching on Shark Tank and the numbers we presented validated our business better than anything I could say.

Know all key metrics around your business and be ready to answer all the basic questions. Shark Tank had a standard pitch format. Two minutes to pitch the Sharks and to be as entertaining as possible and then it jumps into Q&A for hours.

We did excellent on the pitch and Q&A by preparing and doing mock pitches and Q&A’s. We presented our success and showcased that we were ready to scale. I had to imagine myself as an investor and check off boxes that I would want to see if I were going to invest money into a company.

Zach Bellas, an American musician, producer, writer, and founder of SMB Records:

Make it relatable – This is a particular problem for musicians. They want to throw out a hundred genres and artist they have the slightest resemblance to and end up confusing everyone they pitch with an endless barrage of information.

Make it fun. – People respond to good energy, so it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Put yourself in a good mood, make strong eye contact and speak genuinely from the heart. At the end of the day that is what people buy into.

Laura Prestwich, client coordinator and lead copywriter at Fuze Branding:

Crafting an elevator pitch can be tricky. I think people often want to fall into the trap of using industry buzzwords, and those don’t always translate well outside of industry insiders. Use plain language. What problem are you solving or what barrier are you smashing? How are you doing that in a unique and personal way?

In order to answer those questions, you have to know your target really well. Don’t be afraid to craft multiple elevator pitches based on a specific target or goal. Just like your resume should be specific to the company and position you’re targeting, your pitch should be personal too.

Joy Altimare, chief engagement and brand officer at EHE:

Capture their attention from the first sentence. Studies show that most people remember what you say at the beginning and the end of the conversation. So, you want to start strong and immediately answer the question: “Who are you” and “what makes you different” than others in your field or with your background. You want to establish a relationship with the other person while delivering a firm understanding that you’re the best option for the opportunity/role.

Creatively establish your qualifications by leveraging the art of storytelling. For me, it’s not interesting when someone just list their background and previous roles; I love it when someone can demonstrate the connective tissue between the experiences and can express a common theme that sums up their experiences. So, when you walk away, you leave the person with a very positive – and memorable – expression.

End with a focus on them – the listener. You’ve told them about you, now tell them how you can help them. This demonstrates that you’ve either 1) done a little homework or 2) you understand their category and can quickly access their key issues and provide tangible action items to help them succeed. This will round out the conversation and lean towards a great partnership.

Dr. Kara Fasone, co-founder and Chief Wellness Officer at Wise & Well Academy:

Your elevator pitch will not stay the same! In fact, you should adapt it based on the situation. So, an elevator pitch I use at an internal networking event will be slightly different from the one I use at an industry-specific conference which will also be different from the one I use at a leadership retreat.

Spend 3 minutes reviewing and updating your elevator speech each time you sign-up for a new event that requires use of your pitch. This allows you to ensure your spiel is relevant while providing an opportunity to practice, practice, practice.

The key is to get to a point where your pitch sounds conversational and unrehearsed. You don’t want to come off as scripted and disingenuous as you’re meeting new people.

Rich Franklin, president of KBC Staffing:

Unless you are certain of your audience and their precise level of comprehension, don’t throw too much new information at them. Too much industry-specific, technical jargon or less-than-universal acronyms can cause mental saturation. Having industry expertise is great but make sure to demonstrate it without sacrificing clear communication.

Make sure your value proposition, customer segments, monetization strategy, and differentiators are easily understood – Clearly describe a) what you do, b) who you do it for, c) how you make money doing it and d) what makes you special or prevents someone else from doing the same thing.

Depending on your audience and the situation, you may not bring up all these areas in your short elevator pitch but you should know how to clearly explain them all. If you explain it to your grandmother and she doesn’t “get it,” your pitch might need some work. If you pitch it to twenty potential cofounders and none of them “get it,” your pitch definitely needs work.

Gennady Litvin, attorney at Moshes Law:

There’s a tendency to ramble and rush when giving an elevator pitch because the time allotted is so short but don’t. Instead, take your time and make sure you’re speaking clear enough so they can understand what is being said. You’ll find that rushing through it does more harm than good.

What’s the point of pitching them if they can’t even follow what you’re saying? Be concise with your message, this is easy if you understand what you sell, who you’re selling to, and how it benefits them as I stated before. And be conversational, even though this is a pitch find a way to include them and turn this pitch into a conversation. Pitches only last for about 30 seconds but a conversation can go on for hours.

Marina Shumaieva, co-founder and CTO of CruiseBe:

The main thing in this short pitch is practice. You should work on speed, intonation, readiness to respond to questions and interruptions. As for the proper construction of sentences describing your company, I’d like to recommend you a good game practice. Write down 5-10 large companies that were founded as startups. Try to write one-sentence pitches that could be the basis of their elevator pitches. Then try to find examples of pitches and compare the results.

Conclusion: How to Craft an Amazing Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch, also known as the elevator pitch, is one component of successful networking. It will help you network confidently. When giving your elevator pitch, stand up straight, give a firm handshake, and look your partner in the eye.

Keys to crafting an excellent elevator pitch include practice, organization, and discipline. Take your time, take it slow, and start from scratch.

Last, be sure to include pertinent information in your elevator pitch. Stick to the important facts and elements of your story.

Good luck! Let us know if you have any questions.