You’re at a business function, neighborhood party or industry conference. It’s unavoidable—someone is bound to ask you about what you do. Do you have a snappy, memorable comeback prepared? Would your co-workers describe the company in the same way? It’s not surprising that in organizations small and large, the way employees describe the business varies widely.

What is an elevator pitch? I love how Christine Lagorio sums it up in the Inc. Magazine article “How to Master Your Elevator Pitch”. She writes an elevator pitch is “What exactly do you do, and why should I care?” Sure your elevator pitch should be simple, engaging and short, but it has to leave the audience wanting to know more. So how do you create an engaging elevator pitch?

Keep it short.

More than anything, your elevator pitch needs to be short. Your listeners will form a first impression about you in 10 seconds or less, so it’s important that you gain their attention in the first 10 seconds and continue to wow them for no more than one minute.

Describe who you are.

Within the first 10 seconds, you want to let your listeners know exactly who you are and what you do. Refrain from using industry jargon, as this may confuse and deter your listeners. Let them know who you are and what services you provide in a short and punchy way.

Describe the benefits you can bring.

Now that you’ve grabbed their attention, it’s time to build an emotional bond with your listeners by describing the benefits that you can bring to the table. Tell them what problems your business can solve, and share impressive statistics as long as you can verify them. This is the time to let your listeners know what your business can do for them and why it matters to them.

Share why you’re unique.

Once you’ve lured them in with your emotional bond, it’s time to brag about what makes your company unique. This is time to let your listeners know why they should choose your company over your competitors.

Since you know the ins and outs of your business, this is where you may start to go on and on, but it’s important to remember to keep it brief. Choose two key points that you can share about what makes your company unique, talk about one big achievement, and tell them exactly how you’re different than other companies that may offer similar products or services.

Share your goal.

Sharing your goal is imperative to closing the deal. Use this time to be direct and let your listeners know exactly what it is that you want from them. The more direct you are, the more they’ll be willing to let you know if they’re interested or not.

Having an engaging elevator pitch is essential to your business. By using these tips, you’ll be able to grab your prospects’ attention and hopefully earn some new business. If you’re having trouble creating an engaging elevator pitch on your own, use the HBS Elevator Pitch Builder tool to help you.

YOUR TURN:
Do you have any additional elevator pitch tips? Please share them in the comments section below.