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An intriguing invitation


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6 Elevator Pitches for the 21st Century: 

1. The one word pitch: Write a fifty-word pitch. Reduce it to twenty-five words. Then to six words. One of those remaining half-dozen is almost certainly your one-word pitch.

2. The question pitch: Use this if your arguments are strong. If they’re weak, make a statement. Or better yet ,find some new arguments. Rather than make a statement, ask a question to make people think and engage with you.

3. The rhyming pitch: Say stuff that rhymes… cheesy, but it has been shown to increasing processing fluency

4. The subject line pitch: Review the subject lines of the last twenty e-mail messages you’ve sent. Note how many of them appeal to either utility or curiosity. If that number is less than ten, re-write each one that fails the test.

5. The Twitter pitch: Even though Twitter allows 140 characters, limit your pitch to 120 characters so that others can pass it on. The best pitches are short, sweet, and easy to retweet.

6. The Pixar pitch: Once upon a time ___. Every day ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that ___. Until finally, ___.

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1. Keep it short. Be succinct. According to Wikipedia, an adult's attention span is eight seconds, so be sure to give just enough information (and more importantly perhaps the right information) so that after only hearing a sentence or two, someone knows what you do - and if it's a pitch, what you need.

2. Have a hook. As Mel Pirchesky advises, "The objective of the first ten or fifteen seconds is to have your prospective investors want to listen to the next forty-five or fifty seconds differently, more intently than they would have otherwise."

3. Pitch yourself, not your ideas. As Chris Dixon writes, "The reality is ideas don't matter that much. First of all, in almost all startups, the idea changes - often dramatically - over time. Secondly, ideas are relatively abundant." Instead of talking about ideas, highlight what you've done - the concrete accomplishments or skills - rather than some intangible concept or a future goal.

4. Don't forget the pitch. It's easy to get so caught up in the details of who you are that you neglect to mention what you need. What amount of financing are you seeking, for example?

5. Don't overwhelm with technical or statistical terminology. While being able to tout one or two amazing and memorable phrases or figures can be useful, don't fill your elevator speech with numbers or jargon.

6. Practice. Rehearse your elevator pitch so that when the opportunity to give it comes, you can deliver it smoothly.

7. Use the same tactics for print. You can hone your elevator skills by practicing them in writing. Babak Nivi describes the email elevator pitch here.

8. Revise. As your startup moves through various stages, be sure to update and refresh your pitch.

9. Be involved in the startup community before you pitch. Business Insider suggests "Engaging in online discussions, writing insightful blog posts, and participating in the relatively small startup community can earn you a 'strong presence' that gets you noticed by potential investors." Building relationships with investors before pitching to them will help your success.

10. Listen. When seeking to build strong networks, remember it can be just as important to listen as it is to talk.

brian griffin elevator

1. Make them care. People can be kind, loving and caring, but sometimes it really comes down to answering that oh-so-pivotal question: "What can you do for me?" To get to this point, introduce yourself and address a problem right out of the gate. Explain the benefits your company can offer, which is ultimately a real solution. Personalize this person's problem into a question and give them the best solution: your company.

2. Make it easy to join. If you have worked with some big name brands already, or even the competitors of the person that you are pitching to, don’t be afraid to mention that. It shows that you have credibility and you are growing. If this person's competition isn't using your service or products, the question is, why not? To an investor, being able to point customers -- especially high-profile ones -- shows traction.

3. Leave them wanting more. Elevator pitches are meant to be short, so don't try to pack in too much. Give just a couple of details but nothing that can be internalized as confidential. Explain your expertise, why you are best suited for the execution and a general overview. There is no non-disclosure agreements signed at the beginning of a pitch. The secret sauce should be saved for later. All you're required to do is be able to confidently broadcast that you know exactly what you're doing.

4. Have a call to action. You did this pitch for a reason right? No matter if you wanted to snag an investment or gain a new client or employee, let your goals be known. If you are raising money, communicate how much you want and how much equity you're willing to part with. If you're trying to win over an employee or a client, let them know exactly what you want from them.

5. Be natural. Get comfortable with your pitch. You don’t want to sound like a pre-recorded program. Have passion, yet show some restraint. Most of all, relax! If you stumble that is totally fine, smile and start over. Practice as much as you can eventually you will find the perfect pitch for you.

6. Test yourself. We can't all pitch for the big leagues right away. As such, it's good to get as much feedback as possible. I had the opportunity to pitch to Amanda Steinberg (Founder, DaliyWorth) and Norm Brodsky (Inc. Magazine Columnist) on MSNBC’s Your Business. They gave great feedback on my pitch on what I can do differently, how to make it better and if I would get a second meeting with them.

Stashed in: Founders, 106 Miles, Presentations, startup, Pitching, G4!, Elevator!

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This is brilliant.

5. The Twitter pitch: Even though Twitter allows 140 characters, limit your pitch to 120 characters so that others can pass it on. The best pitches are short, sweet, and easy to retweet.

Here's 140 - any good so far? Would love your feedback

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It occurs to me I didn't get back to you. Yes that's a good pitch!

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