(Elevator) Pitch Perfect

The concept of an “elevator pitch” is really intriguing to me. I’m definitely that annoying girl on the elevator who strikes up a conversation with everyone instead of staring blankly at the floor. I like breaking social norms and practicing small talk with strangers with a limited amount of time is always beneficial.

When we were assigned the elevator pitch assignment for my senior capstone in journalism, I was entirely too excited. My unpopular opinion and energy for the assignment was opposite of the general reaction in the room. I don’t mind public speaking. In fact, I like to be in the front of the room taking charge of the scenario.

In order to prepare for my elevator pitch for SocialAbroad, I spent a great deal of time looking over the market analysis that my group and I put together a few weeks prior. In researching other industry participants, I was able to put together a pitch that drew on strengths that set SocialAbroad apart from apps like Trip Advisor, Air Bnb, Hostel World, and Tinder.

Developing the pitch didn’t take me long, and after practicing the pitch for an hour in my parked car (because I couldn’t find another place on campus that was private), I was feeling confident. I knew which words to emphasize more with my tone, which words to use a hand motion on, and so forth. However, when it came time to actually deliver the pitch my mind went blank.

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JRM599 after surviving Elevator Pitch Day

After practicing for hours and not feeling any nerves prior to 4pm on Wednesday, all of a sudden I froze and started speaking on a tangent. I didn’t say half of the things I wanted to and I was not as dynamic in my delivery as I had hoped. But I got through it. I survived. Here is the photo evidence that the entire class survived.

I really enjoyed listening to other people’s pitches. The ones that stood out the most were the ones with enthusiasm. It’s hard to sell a product that you’re not excited about yourself. The content in all of the pitches was great; almost everyone used statistics and data.

The pitches that came off in a more casual, conversational tone also resonated with me the most. The concept of an elevator pitch is that you are just telling someone in a short period of time who you are and what you’re all about. It shouldn’t be just a grandiose thing.

I learned a lot from the experience. Thinking on your feet is probably the most important. When I blanked on my pitch, it was important for me to be able to actually think about what I was trying to say, instead of just rambling from memory. It is also important to get excited about your product and really take charge of the room. In demanding that attention, you are demanding investment in your product.