Delivering an Elevator Pitch

What Is An Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a succinct and persuasive statement delivered to tell your audience who you are, what you do, and what you want. Often used in sales to sell a product, elevator pitches may be used in advocacy to sell a solution to a problem or offer a position on an issue. The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that your pitch should be short enough to deliver in span of an elevator ride, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes maximum.

Why Do You Need One?

Putting together a pitch will help you to better understand your problem, think about ways to “hook” different audiences, and present a solution. And once you’ve practiced pitching, you’ll be ready to seize opportunities for influence when they arise.

An elevator pitch can be used in nearly any advocacy effort, including campaigns for public law library funding; opposing the elimination of print legal materials; support for access to justice; and the need for trustworthy legal materials.

Who Is the Target Audience?

Who do you want to influence? Elected officials, trustees, journalists, other library groups or potential coalition partners, and your supervisor are just some of the potential audiences you might pitch. You will likely use slightly different presentations for each audience.

Practice Makes Perfect

These tips will help you to master the perfect pitch:

  1. Practice your elevator pitch several times before practicing in front of another person.
  2. When practicing, deliver your speech without stopping, even if you have a few stumbles along the way. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Once finished, critique yourself. Pick two things that you liked about the talk and one thing you would like to improve upon.
  3. Memorize as much as possible. You’ll be ready in any situation!