Last Updated on 7 April 2011

Sand for Your Inbox
February 2007

Ever sat next to a potential client or employer on an airplane flight and wished you had a quick pitch prepared?

Ever been at a loss for the right words while riding the company elevator? A senior exec approaches you with something along the lines of…

“You work on the 8th floor in marketing, right? How’s the Houston Project coming along?”

If it hasn’t happened yet – it will. You need to seize the moment prepared with your “Elevator Pitch” – your short, to-the-point, and engaging blurb.

Okay, so you get the idea, but aren’t sure how to write your own? The folks at the Idea Sandbox Institute have compiled key ideas for you…

Elevator Pitch Basics

CONTENT – What you should include

  • Basics – Introduce yourself. Be sure to say your name clearly.
  • Be Interesting – What’s unique about you? What value are you adding? How are you part of the solution? What’s in it for them?

    “I work in the marketing department.”

    “I’m leading the marketing team that developed the winter campaign customers are raving about.”

    “I own a flower shop downtown.”

    “I’m a specialty florist who deals in rare, South American tropical flowers that bloom in the winter.”

  • Convey Key Point(s) – Be sure they ‘get’ your message. You only have time for one, maybe two, key points. Make sure you convey what they are. When you’ve finished the other person should walk away knowing this about you.

STYLE – How to do it

  • Keep It Short – Be able to state your pitch in 30-seconds. The pitch won’t do you any good if it gets cut short. It’s nicknamed ‘elevator pitch’ because you should be able to state in within the length of an elevator ride. (Around 100 to 150 words).
  • Practice, but be Natural – Be rehearsed but don’t sound like it. Learn and rehearse you pitch. Get comfortable with the words. But don’t let it sound rehearsed.
  • Be Genuine and Excited – Express enthusiasm but be yourself. If you aren’t excited, why should I be? If you are not genuine, you will sound like a phony.
  • Provide Your Card – Don’t “pitch and ditch.” If you want them to remember and/or contact you provide the information. Always carry business cards.
  • Multiple Pitches – Create different pitches for different occasions. You probably have more than one audience – therefore more than one pitch. The pitch for the company president will differ from what you say when networking or to a potential employer.

As Seen On TV

Sometimes inspiration comes from unlikely places. Many TV sitcoms provide excellent elevator pitches…

A few weeks ago I was watching the opening set-up of the show “My Name is Earl.” The first 30-seconds of each episode quickly explains the show’s on-going plot.

To summarize… Earl used to bad things until realizing karma was punishing him. To make things right, he’s made a list of – and intends to reverse – all his wrong-doings. Each episode Earl rights one of his wrongs.

Hmmm… Sounds interesting.

Many TV shows, especially from the 70s and 80s, use 30-second plot set-ups. To get you engaged and to want more these blurbs are…

  • brief,
  • provide relevant information, and
  • pique your interest.

That’s exactly what YOUR elevator pitch needs to do.

In 30-seconds or less… bring me, or your boss, or potential customers up to speed on what YOUR plot is, pique my interest, and leave me wanting more…

Want More?

See many examples from TV and read “Elevator Pitch: YOUR TV Show Opening Narration,” which inspired this Inbox Sand. For your inspiration, the link includes a whole series of TV blurbs (to read) and the video (to view). Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy and find these tips useful. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments

Take care,

Paul's First Name


Paul Williams
CEO (chief elevator operator)
Idea Sandbox

Idea Sandbox • Seattle | Amsterdam