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The Elevator Pitch: Is It Still Relevant?

We’ve all heard the classic illustration: you’re standing in an elevator with a company big whig and you have just 20-30 seconds to pitch your idea before they get off on their floor.

In a very literal sense, you have a captive audience and you need to make the most of every second. It’s a high-stakes opportunity that could change your life forever.

In the real world, situations like these are very few and far between. However, knowing how to present your business idea in a short period of time is a valuable skill to possess.

After all, most people are either too busy or too preoccupied with their own problems to listen to what you have to say. At most, you can expect to receive someone’s full attention for a couple minutes.

Whether or not you’re in an elevator, 20-30 seconds is still a good rule of thumb.

5 Key Elements of an Elevator Pitch

So, what makes an elevator pitch different than any other business presentation?

In many ways, an elevator pitch shares the same structure as a full-length presentation. You have to explain who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. The main difference is that you’re not pitching your idea to a fully-engaged audience.

You’re speaking to someone who has a million things on their mind and is only half-listening to what you’re saying. Therefore, you need to really cut the fat when it comes to your message and use language that’s clear and easily digestible.

It’s Attention-Grabbing

The elevator pitch was invented in the 90s, long before anyone had a mobile device. Today, you have to fiercely compete for people’s attention—wherever they may go.

Even if your elevator pitch takes place in a literal elevator, you still don’t have the full attention of your audience. They might be checking emails, looking at their schedule, or texting a friend or loved one.

You have to say something that catches your audience’s attention and makes your message stand out among the background noise.

It’s Easy to Understand

Analogies, metaphors, and narratives are all great tools for making high-level concepts easy to understand. Try creating an elevator pitch that anyone would “get,” regardless of their educational background or profession.

Most importantly, don’t just assume that your audience knows what you’re talking about. In fact, it’s better to spend a few extra seconds explaining something than letting the rest of your message fall on deaf ears.

On the other hand, overexplaining the basics can either waste your audience’s time or come across as condescending. If you’re somewhat familiar with your audience, try to tailor your message for their level of knowledge.

It Contains Simple Language

When people are distracted or preoccupied, just a small percentage of their brain power is going to be allocated to what you have to say. That’s why using simple language is key to an effective elevator pitch.

If you often have trouble simplifying your vocabulary, check out this list containing 1,000 of the most common English words.

It’s Condensed

An elevator pitch isn’t about length necessarily, but rather efficiency. Don’t leave important details out to save time—find out how to say the same thing more succinctly. Choose your words carefully and remove anything that doesn’t clarify your message.

One great tool for simplifying your writing is the Hemingway Editor. This handy app gives you feedback to help you clean up lengthy and complex sentences. By removing unnecessary elements from your pitch, you’ll save a whole lot of time and keep your audience engaged for longer.

It Leaves No Questions

When you give an elevator pitch, there is no time for Q&A. If you fail to fully explain your idea in the allotted time, you create room for confusion and misunderstanding.

And, if you leave your audience with any questions or doubts, there’s a very low chance that they’ll reach out to you for clarification. Instead, they’ll probably forget about your pitch and move on with their lives, unaffected.

Try giving your elevator pitch to friends, family, and acquaintances of all occupational and educational backgrounds. Ask them if they have any questions about your presentation and use their feedback to clarify your message.

After doing this several times, you’ll greatly refine your pitch.


In addition to basic communication skills like making phone calls and writing emails, the ability to create a compelling elevator pitch is an essential tool that any businessperson should have.

The best part is that once you’ve crafted the perfect pitch, you can split it up into sections. These small bits and pieces can then be used as the basis of your content marketing campaign.

Little one-liners, sentences, and phrases concerning your business can all be used in a variety of content, such as images, videos, infographics, landing pages and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with Content Marketing or are unsure where to start, you’re in the right place.

At Sales Buddy, we find B2B leads for businesses through the use of high-quality content, marketing automation, and distribution throughout social media and our own exclusive network.

We also handle the entire prospecting process, from lead nurturing to lead scoring. And once we’ve identified hot leads for you, we send them directly to your CRM/Inbox for your sales team to close.

To learn more about how Sales Buddy can get more B2B leads for your business, schedule a quick chat with Corey.

About the Author Michael Edgar

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