5 Tips for Composing the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Chris Westfall, Author of The New Elevator Pitch
Neeley MBA students, do you have an “elevator pitch”?

It may seem hokey, but crafting the perfect elevator pitch could help you land your dream job.

What is an elevator pitch? According to Chris Westfall, author of The New Elevator Pitch, winner of the National Elevator Pitch Competition and TCU MBA alum ('95), it’s “a short persuasive introduction to a person, product or idea.” Your elevator pitch should engage the listener, spark authentic conversation and inspire action. Ideally, you want the person on the receiving end to utter these three words: “Tell me more.”

Are you thinking your elevator pitch needs a little work? Use these pro tips from Westfall to help you compose the perfect spiel.

Focus on your audience. “Talking in first person sounds like you’re reading from your LinkedIn profile,” says Westfall. Instead, speak in second person, making your audience the focus of your pitch. Use the word “you,” and your story instantly becomes more compelling. “The easiest way to persuade someone is to understand where they are coming from,” says Westfall. “Context is more important than content when communicating with people.”

Enage. Engage. Engage. Engagement is a two-way conversation. Get your audience involved. “The best elevator pitch starts with what your listener is thinking,” says Westfall. Use universal themes and conversation starters to set the stage for dialogue. 

Tell them what they haven’t heard. According to Westfall, your story needs to have four components: an element of surprise, something unexpected, an instance of innovation and an example of how you responded to a situation in a counterintuitive manner. Think about the things your audience may not have heard before and incorporate those elements into your story. “There may be no such thing as new ideas, but there are always fresh perspectives,” says Westfall.  

Be personal. “The best elevator pitches are the ones that are the most personal,” says Westfall. Be willing to tell your story, talk about your past and share how you got on the path you are on today.

Take your time. Writing a compelling elevator pitch requires time and understanding of the process of communication. Consider the aspects of your story that are different from others’. What is the real difference maker? Whoever tells the best story wins, so take your time making yours the best it can be.

The perfect elevator pitch can be a game changer. Set yourself up for success in your career search by arming yourself with a compelling and engaging story of who you are and where you are going. It will bring you one step closer to getting there.

Chris Westfall has created multimillion dollar revenue streams for companies on four continents, with innovative new strategies on leadership communication. As the U.S. National Elevator Pitch Champion, he’s coached clients onto Shark Tank and Dragons' Den, helped entrepreneurs to raise millions from investors and successfully re-branded products and services around the globe. His keynote presentations help organizations to understand the new rules of engagement: an authentic persuasion that’s not pushy, “sales-y” or fake.

Visit Christ Westfall’s website or follow him on Twitter for more information.
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