How to Adjust Your Elevator Pitch for Different Media

Joe Weinlick
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You're probably already familiar with the concept of the elevator pitch: the short summary of a project, a product or a plan that you can theoretically deliver in the time it takes to travel between floors on an elevator. However, very few elevator pitches are performed in elevators these days. Instead, you need to learn how to make your pitch not only in person, but also over email and other popular media.

Each type of media requires its own, customized elevator pitch. In person, the standard pitch advice remains the same as it was a few generations ago: keep it short, keep it focused and try to keep it under 30 seconds long. To perfect your pitch, first write it down and revise it until the language communicates everything you want to say. Then, practice saying your pitch out loud until you can give it in a comfortable, conversational tone no matter what the situation.

Making a pitch over email is a lot like giving a pitch in person. You have a short amount of time with which to capture the recipient's attention, and you need to make your message clear and to the point. When reshaping your elevator pitch for email, consider shortening it. Many busy business professionals only want to read emails that are three to five sentences in length. If your elevator pitch is longer than three sentences, it is too long. Make it as short as possible to make sure your message gets read.

Forbes suggests taking the email pitch a step further and drafting a pitch that fits into an email subject line. In this case, you do not even have a full sentence with which to communicate your message; instead, you have to fit the main idea into a single four or five-word phrase.

Social media gives you even less space through which to communicate your message. Twitter, for example, only lets you use 140 characters at a time. Either write one short, succinct sentence, or create a short series of memorable phrases that reflect your pitch idea. Think of classic sales taglines such as "Easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl" or "Diamonds are forever." Whether you are pitching a limited-character media format such as Twitter or a longer format such as LinkedIn, writing your pitch as if it were a short ad tagline helps cement your idea in people's minds.

It isn't enough these days to have a single elevator pitch. Instead, you need a new pitch for each type of media: a memorized pitch to give in person, a short pitch for email, a subject-line pitch to get people to open your email and a social media pitch that reads like an ad tagline. Learn how to tailor your elevator pitch to each new media and you'll be able to capture anyone's attention.


(Photo courtesy of maya picture /


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