kai·zen [ ki' zen] noun

Definition:  philosophy of ongoing improvement: a Japanese business philosophy advocating the need for continuous improvement in somebody's personal and professional life
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The Art of the Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is your response when someone casually asks, "What kind of work do you do?" and you give them a brief answer in roughly the time span of an elevator ride. You can have an elevator pitch for job search, marketing your business, or pretty much any other situation where you need to get your message out.

The goal is to cause some kind of further action on the part of the listener. Ideally, an opportunity to further discuss your pitch. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are not prepared when the opportunity arises be it at a wedding reception, alumni lunch or even a chance encounter with a potential investor.

The ideal elevator pitch should be approximately 30 seconds and certainly no longer than 60 seconds. Don't explain your entire business plan. There just isn't time. You need to provide a hook to engage the listener. The first thing out of your mouth should explain the problem you solve. Remember you are not selling the drill, you are selling the hole. Once you have set the hook you can elaborate a little further.

You should constantly refine and practice your elevator pitch but make sure the preparation doesn't smother your enthusiasm for you business or product. Finally, practice in front of a mirror. Tape yourself and let others critique your pitch. It can be a humbling experience but the sting is more than made up for by increased business.

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Reader Comments (9)

Like your posts. They are good reminders of right living. I am looking forward to your feeds on google reader.

March 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbill dietrich

Good post. I think that many of us are unprepared when we're asked the question, "What kind of work do you do." You offer some great advice...don't just think about your elevator pitch in your head or what you would say, but actually practice it in front of the mirror or videotape. I would bet that most people just stop at thinking about the statement, but could you use that next step. Thanks for sharing this information :)

March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre

Great post! "Don't sell the drill, sell the hole"—a fabulous reminder and I'm going to work on mine right now.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Solid stuff here. Personally, I have an aversion to the word 'pitch' and prefer to use the word presentation or speak about my elevator speech. Thanks for the reminder...

April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim Williams

Great post! Thanks Carlos!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Great info here Carlos.

Just a friend from twitter.

April 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoseli A. Bakar

Great post! I like what Renne responded with. You have a great blog here keep up the tips will be back soon.

April 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPyrabang Nick

Great writing and information here! I am often too long winded, as I try to get every ounce of info into everything. I need to be a little more judicious with words. Keep up the good work.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

This is so, so true. We have many opportunities to talk to people about our business, but fail to have something interesting to say.


February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Kitsmiller

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