In the Melanie Griffith starrer Working Girl, in a crucial climax scene, Tess (Melanie) and industry mogul Oren Trask are in an elevator and Tess has to convince Trask about her idea before the elevator reaches the office floor. It is one of the most amazing examples of an elevator pitch. If one can present an idea to a potential investor/stakeholder in one minute or so, it saves valuable time for both parties while displaying both clarity and conviction in the pitch.

Wikipedia defines – ‘An elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short description of an idea, product, company, or oneself that explains the concept in a way such that any listener can understand it in a short period of time.’ To explain this concept, one should focus on the following elements –

  1. Who is pitching the idea – it is safe to assume that one of the founding members of the team is pitching the idea. One reason is that a person involved in the inception would have a better idea about the vision and strategy while having a greater understanding of highlights and shortfalls. The second reason is the optics of the pitch. Pitch is expected to be among equals. If a low-level employee makes the pitch to an investor, the perception is that either founders are incompetent or lack leadership qualities or just not interested.
  2. Who is listening – In the scope of a business, the pitch is made to investors, partners or customers. It is important to identify the correct audience in terms of their need and knowledge in the domain in order to make a successful pitch. Pitching to a VC, involved with the Healthcare sector, about a handicraft business might need a lot of maneuvering in the content of the pitch. Otherwise, it will be an opportunity missed.
  3. What is being pitched – The primary purpose of a pitch is to make your audience interested and get them to ask questions. It needs to provide you with an opening. This is the principle that guides the complexity and detailing of the pitch. It should be simple enough to send the message across while complex enough to incite curiosity. It should detail the primary features to the extent where the purpose is defined without going into painful technical aspects. At last, a pitch should ideally close with a vision for the product.