The sound bite or elevator pitch

The sound bite or elevator pitch for better business communication


You have less than 60 seconds to make a powerful first impression. The average person’s mind starts wandering in less than 60 seconds. Our days are full, we have less time, we are used to sound bites in the news and on TV. Even short bursts of programmes broken by adverts. We need to grab their interest quickly or we’ll lose them forever.

When someone asks “What you do?”, what do you say?

A great “sound bite” or elevator pitch is aimed at a specific audience. You might want to prepare a unique pitch for each type of listener. Customise your pitch. What is your desired outcome? Keep that in mind as you design and deliver your pitch.

People remember stories far easier than facts and clinical descriptions. So “Engineer” or “Salesman” doesn’t really help you. Starting off with the problems you solve can help you far more. Remember to keep it short. You should be able to engage them and tweak their interest in 60 seconds. Engaging your audience with a clear answer to their question, explaining the types of problems you solve and the clients you serve.

Use examples and stories to help support your points. Provide short examples of successful outcomes, of your skills at solving problems. Well-told stories make your speech more memorable.

Create pictures in the listener’s mind of what you mean. Be careful to make those images clear. “Don’t think of a red ball”, creates the same image as “Do think of a red ball”. Paint a clear picture of what you want them to imagine.

Don’t focus just on yourself, this approach will create a “Why should I care?” reaction. Remember as you deliver your “soundbite” pitch that the listener will be mentally asking, “What’s in it for me (or my company), why should I care?” Relate what you say to your audience and their concerns. This means you will have to listen, be observant and pay attention to them. Asking a well-timed, insightful question can have a far bigger impact than any pitch. A single, relevant question can open up the listener and help you discover who they are, what they need and make them feel important. People want to feel important. We all want to be heard.

Sometimes the best “sound bite” or elevator pitch is where you ask questions and discover who your listener is, rather than just talking about yourself. Listen, ask questions, pay attention, be interested and help them frame their issues.Soundbite pitch Infographic

Perfecting your soundbite The sound bite or elevator pitch or elevator pitch

The sound bite or elevator pitch

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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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