Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch – HPC Toolkit

Healthy Performance Toolkit – Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch Overview:

  • Objective = To create a concise presentation of a project or idea, that could be communicated in the time of an elevator ride. 
  • Team Size = Any group size will work
  • Time = 45 mins
  • Difficulty = Medium
  • Materials Required = No
  • Preparation Required = NO
  • Technology Required = Shared document and video/phone conferencing

Healthy Performance Toolkit – Elevator Pitch

Why this is an important tool for you or your team

You and the people around you don’t have a lot of time to waste.  Creating a message that is either too complex, to vague, or takes too long is just a waste.  The ability to quickly and concisely communicate to customers or key stakeholders is critical if you want to succeed as an individual, as a team, and as a company.  While there are many different communication tools that you should use, one of our favorites is the Elevator Pitch.

The premise behind an Elevator Pitch is to craft a message about your idea, your project, or your request of someone that is simple and straightforward.  And when you do your job right, the sharing your message only requires a minute or two… the length of an elevator ride (hence the name).  

The Elevator Pitch is something that can be done individually or as a team, depending on what type of message you need to craft.  

Healthy Performance Toolkit – Elevator Pitch

Step 1 – Brainstorm the 5 components of the Elevator Pitch (10 mins)

While there are many different ways you can construct an Elevator Pitch, we prefer to focus on a simple 5 part pitch.  For each part, you should limit yourself to 1-2 sentences.  In the end, your Elevator pitch is at max 10 sentences long.  If you can’t explain your project/idea/request in 10 sentences, then you have a problem.  The 5 components of the Elevator Pitch are:

  1. The Problem – What is the problem that your idea/project/request is trying to solve?  Make sure you explain this problem in a way that the target audience actually agrees that it is a problem.
  2. The Idea – 1 sentence that sums up your idea/project/request.
  3. The Benefits – What is the benefit of implementing your idea/project/request?  How would the audience experience the benefits?
  4. The Details – What are some of the critical steps required to make your idea/project/request become a reality.  Don’t get lost in the details, just provide the high level steps that are required.
  5. The First Step – What is the first action you want the person to take because of this elevator pitch.  After talking with you, they should do what?

The first step in creating your Elevator pitch is to have everyone brainstorm 1 sentence for each component.  We suggest everyone use Post-Its (if in person) or some sort of sharing tool like Miro (if virtual).  If you are doing this exercise as an individual, then we recommend you personally brainstorm 1 sentence for each component, put them to the side, and then brainstorm 1 completely new sentence for each component.  This way you end up having multiple sentences to choose from. 

Limiting your brainstorm to only 1-2 sentences per component can be incredibly tough.  Keep asking yourself, what is nice for them to know, and what is critical for them to know.  

Healthy Performance Toolkit – Elevator Pitch

Step 2 – Vote on which Sentences are the best (10 mins)

As a team, review everyone’s brainstormed sentences for the Problem component.  Have each person vote for their favorite one that.  The top two vote getters should progress to the next step in the process.

Repeat the review and voting process for each of the Elevator Pitch components.  Do not trash the sentences that were not selected, but move them to the side.  You may or may not use them later.

Healthy Performance Toolkit – 

Step 3 – Craft your final 5 sentences (25 mins)

Starting with the Problem sentence, discuss as a team what works well with the top vote getting sentence.  After aligning what works well in the sentence, discuss as a team how the sentence could be improved upon.  What is it missing that other brainstormed sentences had?  Ultimately, you want to finalize as a team your Problem sentence.

The same discussion process should be repeated for the Idea, Benefits, Details, and First Step sentences.  As you finalize each sentence, make sure you write them in a team shared document.

Finally, review the final elevator pitch to verify that it captures the essence of your idea/project/request and communicates it in the most simple and concise manner possible.


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Cary Bailey–Findley has built High Performance Cultures within three Fortune 500 companies, and was awarded the ranking of #1 development organization in the world by the Association of Talent Development. He is currently the Talent Manager for SimCorp, but spends his free time helping startups scale up the the talent they need to succeed.

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