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How to Nail the Elevator Pitch

In today's highly competitive business landscape, one of the key skills every entrepreneur must master is the art of delivering a compelling elevator pitch.

The elevator pitch isn’t just an exercise — it’s your introduction. It’s your first and most important pitch. This short but impactful presentation can make or break opportunities, whether it's securing funding, attracting customers, or engaging potential partners.

To maximize the chances of success, it is crucial to tailor your pitch to the specific situation. This means understanding the needs, interests, and expectations of your audience and customizing your message accordingly. By doing so, you can effectively showcase the value of your product or service and demonstrate how it directly addresses their pain points or fulfills their desires.

You might be at a reception of a startup event filled with angels and VCs. The woman in front of you in the drinks line casually asks, “What brings you here?” You only have a few seconds to wow her.

If you start in with your problem, solution, and market size, she’ll nod, say “Sounds wonderful,” and disappear as soon as she's handed a beer.

Or I’ve invited you to join me as a guest to observe an angel pitch event. Although you’re not scheduled to give a formal pitch that day, you’ll have a chance to introduce yourself to the group. You need to make it quick. You’ve only got a few breaths to make an impression before we move on to the next guest.

Or you’re at a wedding and the groom’s uncle is a venture capitalist. He asks you what you do. You’ve got one sentence to get invited to send him a pitch deck tomorrow.

Here’s how to nail it and hook investors.

Nailing your elevator pitch requires a combination of preparation, confidence, and adaptability. Here are a few tips for delivering an effective elevator pitch:

  • Know your audience- Tailor your pitch to the person or group you’re addressing. Highlight aspects of your pitch that are most relevant or appealing to them. Understanding their needs, interests or similar companies they have invested in helps you frame your pitch effectively.
  • Clarity and conciseness - Focus on key the points, your value proposition or what you offer. Avoid technical language that might confuse your audience. Have different versions of your pitch between 30 seconds to two minutes
  • Highlight the unique value - Emphasize your unique selling points, skills or experiences. Whether it’s a solution to a problem or a unique perspective, make it memorable and distinct. What sets you apart?
  • Practice and practice - Rehearse your pitch until it feels natural but not scripted. Practice in front of a mirror, with friends, or record yourself to refine your delivery, tone, and timing. The more comfortable you are, the more confidently you’ll deliver it.
  • Engage your audience/listeners - Pay attention to the cues your audience gives you and adjust your pitch accordingly. This interaction can lead to a more meaningful connection. Remember, an elevator pitch isn’t just about conveying information; it’s about creating a memorable and engaging conversation that leaves a positive impression.

What are Investors looking for?

The investor is looking for:

Who are you and what have you built?

  • What problem are you addressing and for whom?
  • What advantage do you have over competitors?
  • What stage are you at?
  • What traction have you achieved?
  • And what is your ask?

You could hopefully sum that up in 90 seconds.

What to Avoid while Pitching

One common mistake is a lack of clarity in the message. When crafting a pitch deck, it’s crucial to ensure that the main idea is communicated clearly and concisely. The use of technical jargon can confuse the listener and dilute the impact of the pitch.

Another pitfall to avoid is overwhelming the audience with too much information. It’s essential to focus on the most compelling and relevant aspects of the product, service, or idea without delving into unnecessary details that might overshadow the main message.


By incorporating information about the specific industry, market trends, or competitors relevant to your audience, you can demonstrate that you have done your homework and truly understand their needs and challenges.

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