If you’re getting ready to pitch a project, get it underway, or start any new initiative, you want to sell your audience – whether it be customers, employees, or boards/councils – on the idea that your project or initiative is needed and will help the community’s future. Borrow a strategy from smart marketers: Develop an elevator pitch to quickly convince people of your project or initiative.
An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your project or initiative is all about. A good elevator pitch lasts no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. Think compelling, memorable, and succinct. The elevator pitch should generate curiosity and energy so everyone says, “How exciting! Please tell me more!"
You’ll likely need to create variations of your elevator pitch, depending on the audience. You should have at least two versions:
- One for your board or council that explains the benefits of the project or initiative from a city standpoint.
- Another version for customers/the public that explains “what’s in it for them.”
When you develop your elevator pitch, consider involving employees. Employees support what they’ve helped to create. When people get excited about the possibility of creating something better together, it acts like a compass or North Star and can help align the whole team.
Here are the four steps to creating an effective elevator pitch:
- Identify your goal. What will the project or initiative accomplish?
- Explain how the project or initiative works. Focus on how the goal will be accomplished.
- Communicate your unique selling proposition. How will the project or initiative improve the overall quality of life in the community or set it apart from other nearby communities?
- Practice your pitch again and again. How you say it is just as important as what you say. You want to convey energy and enthusiasm. You want to get people excited, but don’t want to sound too aggressive. Go for a smooth, natural, conversational tone.
If you need help creating an elevator speech, contact Jen Cronin at 616-610-2546 (cell) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. IAMU has contracted with Jen to provide public-relations support for IAMU members.