BNI Sterling

Making Your Elevator Pitch Work For You

The start of many longer conversations ...

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Posted by Christine Nairne on 07/04/2022 @ 8:00AM

Forget about having coffee and some breakfast with a room full of strangers. If you're really going to make networking work for your business you need to be ready to make the most of opportunities at any time and anywhere...

If your elevator pitch is effective, it will be the start of many longer conversations!

If your elevator pitch is effective, it will be the start of many longer conversations!

copyright: smartworks coworking / unsplash

That's where your elevator pitch comes in. When you think about 'pitching' you will probably think about sales, but that's not what your elevator pitch is for. The most popular explanation of the origin of the elevator pitch is that it was introduced by Elisha Otis, founder of the Otis Elevator Company.

"In the mid-nineteenth century, he wanted
to create a safer elevator!"

This was following on from some terrible accidents. Of course, people needed to see his solution to believe they would be safe. In his public demonstration, he stood on a platform at the top of an open lift shaft as his assistant cut the cable. His new locking system applied the brakes and he didn't fall to his death as everyone expected.

His audience now believed in his concept and understood its value. They also had the confidence to use the invention and save time and effort, rather than walking up multiple flights of stairs in modern new high rise buildings.

What's included in an elevator pitch? Based on Elisha Otis's example, there are some important elements to include in your pitch:

Just like Elisha's demonstration, it should be short - between 30 and 60 seconds - and you aren't selling anything; you are simply creating a compelling summary of your unique offer. The benefit of creating and regularly using your elevator pitch is that you will always have a clear and polished answer when someone asks what you do.

You can use the same approach to create interest in a project, idea, product, or even yourself. Ideally, you should include a phrase that people will remember. Your aim is to create a pitch that is compelling, but that sounds natural in a conversation.

To do this think about your:

  1. goal - what you want people to remember

  2. approach - how you will explain the problem you solve

  3. uniqueness - a final take-away phrase that is memorable and which explains why you are different

Above all, you must feel comfortable and confident with the words and what they mean to you. Practice your pitch and review it regularly so that it sounds genuine and natural to your listeners.

If your elevator pitch is effective, it will be the start of many longer conversations, so you will also need to be ready to 'unpack' the details of what every part of your pitch means.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07733 033659 and let's have a chat.

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About Christine Nairne ...


I am committed to communications - personally and professionally. I want to hear what you have to say and to help you to be heard. That's why people tell me their life's story on the bus or train. I love it!

At work, I'm respected as a senior leader, strategist and innovator. I am effective, calm under pressure and confident. I revel in everything from strategic analysis of communications objectives and options to copywriting and the detailed planning and delivery of successful projects and integrated campaigns. I'm very fussy too - about creativity, quality, value and consistency - they all make a difference to results.

At play, I'm learning to paint (slowly) and enjoy cooking, photography, travelling and writing (of course). Most of all, I enjoy learning about all the very special people I meet along the way.


07733 033659