Need An Elevator Pitch?

Stymied by the prospect of condensing your amazing idea, your raison d’etre, your invaluable services or the reason why someone should pay attention to you or your business into one compelling minute? Harvard Business School has the web app for you with the HBS Elevator Pitch Builder. Enter the app and get prompts for “who”, “what”, “why” and “goal.” In each section, you are given a number of words relevant to the section and designed to catalyze your point. There is also a “tip” link to help you if you find that you are still stuck. Because of my curious nature, I of course had to try this out. Under the “who”, I wrote:

I am a creative, original thinker, authoritative in my field and responsive to customer need.

The “what” boils down to your “tag line” – or, as the MBA’s put it, “your value phrased as key results or impact.” I wrote:

Effective decisions, deeper analysis and pointed research, brought to you in half the time.

The “why” asks for what differentiates you and makes you better. I had to think about this one for a little bit. Eventually, I wrote:

Having spent my entire career researching and writing, leveraging technology, and employing creative methods to improve productivity without sacrificing quality, I offer a unique combination of expertise and efficiency.

Then, I had to state my goals. Making more money than Bill Gates didn’t seem a realistic option and my intent was to come up with a useful elevator pitch, should I ever find myself in need of one. But I didn’t have an immediate goal in mind. So I simply wrote:

I am looking to step up to the next level.

O.k. I know. Not very impactful. And the HBS geniuses caught on – this is what they had to say.

Avoid jargon, business-speak or trendy buzz words. Your audience has set through all those boring meetings, has attended those seminars, has read those books. You want to be memorable and that means using your own voice.

The analysis gave me word count, number of repeated words and elapsed time. I still had about 45 seconds to work in my own voice. It gave me average stats, so I could compare. I could email or print my pitch, or edit the pitch to tighten it up.

A pretty cool little tool for making you think about the meaning of life. Thanks Harvard.


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