When you’re talking to a stranger (at a networking event, online meeting, or yes, on an elevator), and they ask, “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?”

What do you say?

In situations like these, you need a short, snappy, easy-to-grasp explanation of your company and its products (Elevator pitch). The person you’re speaking with might turn out to be a perfect fit — or know someone who is. Elevator pitch is a 30-second memorable description of what you do and/or what you sell. The goal is to earn a second conversation, not to convince the person you’re talking to to hire you or buy your solution.

What are the dos and don’ts in pitching?

Let’s start with ways to kill your pitch: 

  • Knowledge curse: your pitch is too complex, technical, hard to understand, and factual 
  • It is all about the product and you. I get that you might be very excited about your innovation and you want to tell all about its features, rings, and bells right away. Your customer, partner, investor, on the other side, might rather hear what’s in it for me. 
  • It is too long. Remember, your goal is to spark curiosity and start a dialog, not to close the deal.

How to create an Elevator Pitch that resonates?  Let me share with you 3 models which I like and use:

  1. Steve Blank’s XYZ structure:  “I help X do Y doing Z”

    • I help salespeople build trust & emotional connection in sales using the power of storytelling and empathic listening.
    • I help 70 million people who are neglected by WhatsApp communicate worldwide.
  2. Venture Hacks’ High-Concept Pitch model:  [Proven industry example] for/of [new domain] .

    • Netflix for business – Leanovatica.com
    • Financial Times for students – magazine at Krakow University of Economics
  3. Storytelling model based on Storyboard (Hero with a dream > Problem > Turning point/Innovation > Resolution > Moral)

I often give Pitching workshop for students and start-ups. Check the video snapshots from the last session with international students of WISE at Crakow University of Economics