What Is an Elevator Pitch? Tips and Examples

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about an elevator pitch and why it's important. Find out when, where, and why to use an elevator pitch. Discover how to make your elevator pitch stand out, and explore some examples for different situations.

[Featured image] Three colleagues chat in a brightly lit office.

When you need to make a quick, professional connection, you could try using an elevator pitch. This handy communication tool allows you to quickly convey two or three key points about your business or career, in a variety of situations.

Read this guide to learn more about elevator pitches, including why, when, and where to use them. Discover elements to include in your pitch and how to make your pitch stand out. Then, explore a few examples of elevator pitches to inspire your own.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch allows you to share important information quickly. To understand an elevator pitch, think about a ride in an elevator with an important business executive you've wanted to talk to. You only have about 30 to 60 seconds to share your information, so you must capture their attention, get to the point, and wrap it up quickly.

Even though this brief exchange is an elevator pitch, it doesn't have to take place in an elevator. You can use an elevator pitch at a business event, job interview, or in a company hallway or break room.

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Why use an elevator pitch?

You can use an elevator pitch to make yourself known to someone or if you have something that someone else might want or need. An elevator pitch allows you to make a positive first impression in a short amount of time. And it provides the listener with information you want to convey, whether pitching a business idea, introducing yourself, or trying to get a job interview.

When and where to use an elevator pitch

Many situations present opportunities for the use of an elevator pitch. Consider any of these places or scenarios:

Trade show

If you're promoting a product or service, you’ll likely attend a trade show or two. You'll need a short and exciting elevator pitch to help get prospective customers interested and make sales.

Industry event

An elevator pitch can benefit you at a conference or other industry event. You could pick up a new client, get a new business partner, or make valuable professional contacts. Make sure to tweak your message for each person you meet to sound original.

Career fair

When you are looking for a job or considering a career change, preparing an elevator pitch for a career fair is a great idea. At these events, employers speak to many different people, but a well-executed elevator pitch can help get you noticed and possibly land a new job.


A workplace can provide several openings for an elevator pitch. For instance, you may want to use one when:

  • Talking with a board member before a meeting

  • Collaborating with a colleague on a project

  • Conversing with a superior in the break room

  • Introducing yourself to an in-house trainer

  • Having lunch with a potential client

Job interview

Many employers or recruiting specialists start a job interview wanting to know “a little bit about you.” You can answer with a well-rehearsed elevator pitch. Specifically, you can briefly discuss your education and work experience and why you'd be a good candidate for the job.

Web or social profile

Use a concise and informative elevator pitch as your bio for your website and social profiles. Prospective customers, clients, or investors can read about your skills, experience, products, or services in seconds. 

3 elements of an elevator pitch

Before you deliver an elevator pitch presentation, create a draft of what you want to say. Keep your pitch sounding natural by using language you would use in ordinary conversation with someone you know and respect. Add the following elements to keep your pitch concise and to the point.

1. Stimulate interest.

Keeping your audience's needs in mind, begin with a statement or question that will get their attention. When describing yourself, your product, or your idea, consider what characteristics will excite the person to whom you're presenting your pitch. This step may be the only one you have time for, so stimulating interest is important as it can lead to future conversations.

2. Present value.

Use logic and facts to describe how you can solve your audience's problem or address their pain point. When conveying what you have to offer, consider the skills or products that this person might want or need, or the ideas that might interest them. Make an impression by giving an example of how you have solved a similar problem when possible.

3. Make your request.

Finally, ask your listener for a follow-up based on your purpose for making your pitch, whether it’s an appointment, business card, or more information. Make sure your request relates to the person you're pitching, such as your boss, a hiring officer, or an angel investor, and that it's reasonable. For instance, rather than asking for a promotion, job, or investment, consider asking for a meeting or a phone call to explain why this is a good idea.

Once you've created a first draft, simplify your pitch by removing unnecessary words. Keep it between 30 and 60 seconds long to leave your listener curious for more information.

How to make your elevator pitch stand out

It takes a well-crafted elevator pitch to capture someone's attention in less than 60 seconds. Make sure your pitch grabs and secures your listener’s attention with the following tips.

Keep your objective in mind.

When giving your elevator pitch, remember what you want to get from it. Keeping your objective in mind throughout your conversation should help you remember all the essential points.

Prepare and practice.

Practicing your elevator pitch and delivering it well makes you believable to your listener and shows that you know what you're talking about. Consider recording your pitch and practicing in front of a mirror to increase your confidence. Be extra-prepared by keeping a business card handy. Doing so shows professionalism and gives your listener a way to contact you.

Use your natural voice.

You want your elevator pitch to sound honest and authentic. So make sure you speak in your natural voice and keep your language simple by choosing words you’d normally use.

Speak clearly.

Your audience will better understand your message if you speak slowly and clearly. Speaking too quickly can result in jumbled words and cause your message to lose its meaning.

Show confidence.

A few non-verbal communication tips can help you show confidence during your elevator pitch. Use good posture, shake your listener's hand, and maintain eye contact while you're talking.

Tailor your pitch to each situation.

To tailor your elevator pitch, consider how your offering can benefit each listener specifically. You can ask questions about your listener's particular situation and use the answers to tailor your pitch even further.

Follow up.

After you've presented your elevator pitch, follow up with an email or send a message through a professional social media profile. Mention how and where you met, thank the person for their time, and ask if you can talk again over the phone or in person.

Elevator pitch examples

When creating your elevator pitch, it might help to look at a few examples for different situations.

Career fair pitch:

I'm Brenna Jacobs, and it's so nice to meet you. I've been working for seven years as an environmental lawyer for a land development firm in Phoenix, but I'm hoping to move into government work in the DC area, since I grew up there. In your experience, where might I want to focus my energy?

This elevator pitch presentation is concise, natural, and friendly and doesn't overwhelm the listener with information. As a result, the pitch might lead to a job interview with the listener or point you to other options, which is a win-win situation.

Pitch for selling a service:

Hi. I'm Joshua Tate, and I just got my master's degree in marketing from Howard University. I read recently that your start-up is developing a new line of natural dog products. Interning at a local health food store last year was an unforgettable experience; I helped them boost their second-year sales by 14 percent. I'm a dog owner and an environmental enthusiast, and I would love to talk with you about some creative ideas I have for marketing your line.

This pitch is concise but provides the listener with key information (master's degree in marketing, personal interest in product line, and solid sales statistics). It will likely pique the listener's interest, and you should at least pick up a valuable business contact.

Your next steps

To build your communication skills for creating a successful elevator pitch, consider taking Introduction to Public Speaking offered by the University of Washington on Coursera. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to develop compelling ideas, deliver information effectively, and remain confident while speaking.

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