When you've only got one minute to impress someone, every word you say matters. That's the idea behind the elevator pitch, a short, to-the-point speech any business owner should be able to recite when the time comes. At the end of your pitch, the listener should want to know more and be dying to take your business card. These are the characteristics of a stellar elevator pitch:
Easy to Understand
Your elevator pitch should be a speech for anyone. Entrepreneur points out that opportunities to give your pitch could come at any time. You have to remove all jargon: If your mom won't understand it, make it simpler. It's worth giving your pitch to a few people outside of your field to pick up on terms you might not realize aren't common knowledge. In fact, your mom is a great person to run your pitch by, unless she happens to be an expert in your field.
Has a Hook
First impressions matter. If your opening line doesn't catch your listener's attention, you're going to have trouble bringing them in at all. Avoid opening lines that simply introduce you and your business. Instead, start with a strong statement that lets the listener know why you're here and why your company matters. When you're testing your pitch on friends and family, you can test whether your opener does this by stopping after the first line and asking if that sentence made them want to know more.
Addresses a Problem
Your company is providing a solution to some sort of problem: Address this problem in your pitch. If you're solving multiple problems, figure out which one is most compelling. For example, imagine a company that makes toe socks for cats. Yes, it's true that there's an element of fashion to them, but the really important thing about Bean Toes is that they reduce damage caused by scratching. If your pitch has room for secondary concerns feel free to include them, but make sure you're saying what really matters.
Confident and Natural
There's a fine line between prepared and practiced, and you always want to fall on the former end. Your pitch should come so naturally to you that it rolls off your tongue, but don't fall into the trap of sounding like you're reading off a script. One way you can do this is to have variations of different phrases in your pitch. One version of your pitch might say, "Bean Toes protect your apartment's deposit and keep your cat looking cool," and another might go, "The great thing about Bean Toes is that they prevent damage from scratching in a fun, fashionable way." Having multiple speeches stops you from saying exactly the same thing every time, and will help you avoid sounding like you rehearsed too much.
Calls the Listener to Action
The end of your elevator pitch should encourage the listener to do something. This can be anything from offering more information or telling people how to invest: Just make sure you end on an action-oriented note.