An elevator pitch is a clear, concise explanation of why your product, project, or feature exists. So concise, in fact, that you could explain it during the course of an elevator ride.
Picture this: You've worked late, you're tired, you've already missed your bus, and you just want to get home. The lift door opens and your CEO walks in. "Right. Game on", you think to yourself. Time to look like you're on the ball.
Your CEO asks "Hi, how was your day?"
"Great! Bit tired, but going well" you reply.
"What are you working on?"
Your brain is swimming with the millions of details you've just spent the day wading through. How to untangle them and explain things at a high level in 20 seconds or less??
Oh, how you wish you had an elevator pitch.
Aside from looking good in front of your boss's boss's boss, developing an elevator pitch helps ensure your team has a shared understanding and agreed sense of purpose of what you're doing and why.
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED?
Bring the whole team in for this one!
4 - 8
Running the play
Include the elevator pitch template below in your meeting invite, and challenge your team to arrive with ideas for how to fill in those blanks. It's like MadLibs™, but for the office!
- Sticky notes
- Whiteboard or wall to stick notes on
- Rubber chicken
Set the stage (5 min)
Write the elevator pitch template on the whiteboard:
For [TARGET CUSTOMER TYPE] who want to [NEED / DESIRE], [PRODUCT / FEATURE] is a [MARKET CATEGORY] that [KEY BENEFIT].
Remind your team that your goal for the session is to come up with a snappy one-liner describing the work you're doing. Hand out sticky notes and pens or markers.
Write lots of elevator pitches (15 min)
Working individually (or in pairs, for groups larger than eight), fill in the blanks in the template using a sticky note for each blank.There are no wrong answers here, so just let the ideas flow. Feel free to create a few versions of the pitch if inspiration strikes.
Remember: this is not the same as a vision. It's narrower than that. The elevator pitch is a way for you to articulate what's valuable to customers about your product or service, in contrast to anything else that might be on offer.
Within "key benefit", consider what measurable value you'll deliver to customers and your organisation. Capture the unique value proposition of your product, project, or service.
Pitch to your team (10 min)
Take turns and have each team member (or group) walk through their pitch, and add their sticky note for each blank.
Be careful not to get caught using team- or organisation-specific jargon or (horrors!) acronyms.
Discuss and vote (20 min)
Dig deeper to understand each area. Challenge each other and discuss the phrases that resonate the strongest. Then give everyone a marker and ask them to vote by placing a dot on their favorite sticky for each area.
Don't just describe features and functionality. Make sure everyone understands the difference between features, market categories, and benefits so you can express your unique value proposition.
Bring it all together (10 min)
Tally up the votes and massage the pitch into a single statement using the top-voted stickies from each area.
If you're struggling to reach consensus, go deeper. Ask each team member to consider:
- What would happen if our product, project or feature didn't exist? What do we do that others don't?
- What would we (the organisation) lose without this product, project or feature?
- Who would suffer or be affected? Who are our users or customers?
Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.Find your Health Monitor
MAKE IT COMPETITIVE
After defining different elevator pitches in step 2, pitch them both to your project sponsor, who has one dollar. The sponsor gets to spend their single dollar on one of the pitches.
And don't forget to test it out! Hop in an elevator and shop it around. You'll get it memorized, and you'll look sharp the next time your CEO asks what your team is up to.
Team health is contagious. Pass it on.
Go viral on social media, or email this page to your teammates.