How To Master The Art Of The 60-second Pitch

ISW-elevator-pitchYou have 60 seconds to make an impression. That is about 200 words. Open with a hook that piques interest and close with a request—ask for something. Write out your story and then hone it for the most powerful pitch you can create. To make sure you cover all the bases, Dave Bittner, Invest Southwest board member and owner of Beanstalk CFO Group, encourages entrepreneurs to use the following formula:

We sell _________ (product/service) to _________ (target market) who want _________ (primary benefit); unlike _________ (competition), we _________(differentiation).

Once you have this, create your pitch with these six C’s in mind.

Clear. Focus and use the simplest language possible. Fancy words can confuse your listener and muddle the message. Write down what you do in several different ways and in many different manners—conservative, funny, serious, quirky. Then edit. Edit. Edit.

Concise. Of course, you only have 60 seconds. Write your story illustrating what you do and then boil down to the key idea.

Compelling. Use powerful words. Make relevant, poignant points. Be fascinating. Make sure the story resonates with you, and that it reflects your enthusiasm.

Conspicuous. Show and tell to distinguish value and make key benefits apparent—be visual and evident. Paint a picture with your words.

Custom. Tailor your message to your specific audience. And, realize that you might need different versions at the ready for different target audiences. The more personal you make it, the more involved your listener will be.

Convincing. Craft your pitch with a goal in mind, and then close the deal with a request. Whether you create your pitch to make a sale, enlist support for an idea, get a referral, or gain a prospect, design your pitch with the outcome in mind. Create action statements associated with your goal and finish with a hook. That said, you might even create different versions to meet different goals.

Once you create your core pitch, rearrange the words until it is “just right.” Test it on as many people as you can. Get feedback. Adjust. Continue to improve it to be more distinct and impactful. And always deliver it with the enthusiasm that propels your startup.

For a perfect chance to practice your pitch—and get feedback—attend the Invest Southwest Get Ready Seminar. Designed to reveal what investors look for in a business plan, pitch, etc., this free event will feature a presentation by Dave Bittner. Mark your calendar for October 27th from 8 – 10 a.m. Register here.