An elevator pitch, elevator speech or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a process, product, service, organization, or event and its value proposition.[1] The name ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minute. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will either continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting. A variety of people, including project managers, salespeople, evangelists, and policy-makers, commonly rehearse and use elevator pitches to get their points across quickly.

[1] Pincus, Aileen (June 18, 2007). “The Perfect Elevator Pitch”. Business Week.

Elevator Pitch Example

A quick and quirky view of the elevator pitch…

Elevator Pitch Template

Elevator pitches will always be necessary for the job hunt and the… “So tell me about yourself/what do you do?/who are you?” question is inevitable, and we know it. Though everyone has different ideas of what makes a great elevator pitch, when we get back to basics we realize that there are only three true rules to consider:

  1. It should be 30 seconds or less.
  2. Your skill (or how you benefit a potential employer) should be clear.
  3. There should be a goal (or ask).

Everything else is up to you.

Question 1: What do you do…well? (Skills)

What you do is the foundation of any elevator pitch.

Question 2: What is your greatest strength in this area OR the best compliment you’ve ever received about your skill? (Confidence)

Your concise and clear understanding of your abilities will not only lead others to believe in your abilities but also help employers more readily identify how you fit into the bigger picture of your department, field, or industry.

Question 3: What would you like to do? (Goal)

Really consider what result you want – is it a job? Is it to learn a new skill set? Is it to pick someone’s brain about best practices in your field?

Question 4: What’s your “why?” (Motivation)
The why is what keeps us inspired and motivates us to take action.