If you are like most people, you would rather take a taser to the eyeball than speak in front of an audience–especially one that is going to determine your fate. Yes, devising and delivering a dynamic elevator pitch can be a tad bit nerve-fraying, but there is good news. By following a few tips, you can overcome your stage fright and become an Elevator Pitcher Extraordinaire.
1. It Doesn’t Hurt to Pander
Everyone–even the meekest person–craves positive attention. As Forbes‘ “The Perfect Elevator Pitch to Land a Job” states, your audience will likely have their “antennas tuned to WIFM (What’s in It for Me?).” If you want to keep them tuned in, you need to focus on their needs.
The only way to know your audience’s needs is to know your audience. If you have ever watched an episode of Shark Tank, you have likely noticed that the most successful pitchers take the time to research each member of their intended audience. Armed with this knowledge, they are better able to show each individual “what’s in it for them.”
2. Use Precision Prose
No one wants to listen to a bunch of industry jargon, yada yada yada’s, or stalling-for-time “um’s.” Your elevator pitch needs to be succinct and easy for your audience to follow. “Tighten Up Your Elevator Pitch” warns when you are talking to people who “don’t really understand the technical aspects of what you do, the burden is on you to communicate in a way that those people can understand.” Tech speak is a sure-fire way to lull them into a comatose state.
It is also important to avoid clichés, business buzzwords, and flowery language and focus, instead, on the features of your business, products, or services that make them a “must have.” If your product wows your audience, they will generate “awesome” adjectives of their own.
3. Practise ‘Til Your Hoarse
Okay, if your pitch is the next day, you don’t want to rehearse until you’re hoarse. But you do want to make sure you can nail your pitch effortlessly. You need to begin by reading it out loud to ensure that it flows. After all, you need to foster a conversation not deliver a monologue.
Practising in front of a mirror is helpful as you will be able to check that your mannerisms are relaxed and natural. Mashable‘s “How to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch” recommends also trying it out “on a group of friends or colleagues, and asking what specific points they remember” as instant feedback will help you determine what to cut or change.
4. Exude Confidence, Not Sweat
Even if you feel like a quivering mass of Jell-o and you can sense that your antiperspirant is beginning to fail, you need to exude confidence. Look your audience members in the eye and smile.
Deliver your message at an appropriate pace and volume. Nervousness can, sometimes, tempt you to speak too quickly or mumble. Keep yourself in check and when you feel yourself panicking, take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and soldier on.
And, most importantly, remember that your business, product, or service fills an important void in the marketplace and provides a viable solution to a problem, and, therefore, deserves the best pitch you can give.
Put that taser away and let your eyeball breathe a sigh of relief. The only electrifying thing you are going to experience is the energy sparked by your extraordinary elevator pitch. So go get your audience all charged up.
What tips can you offer someone who has to deliver their first elevator pitch? How do you combat nervousness?