Your Elevator Pitch is Your Mantra

We’ve all heard the phrase, “keep it simple.” Many people know it better as the KISS principle. This is a guideline which many sales people have successfully used for years to keep their product in focus. Simplicity is one of most important words we can harness. It provides clarity. It provides impact. It eliminates confusion. It turns thoughts into action. And it keeps you as a business on track for an effective ask. 

Can You Promote Your Business in Under 60 Seconds?

When you promote your organization to potential customers and to the people you serve, you should be able to describe what you do in a couple of sentences or less. This abbreviated description is called an elevator pitch. It is a brief statement of who you are, what you do and what makes your organization special.

The elevator pitch comes from the concept that some of the most important people we meet may be encountered in elevators - where we only have minutes to gain their attention and keep it. Obviously, this slang term is a metaphor, but it is a highly effective concept. It offers sales people, marketers and others a simple template to follow when presenting an idea or product to another person.

So how would you describe your organization in 60 seconds or less? (That is usually a maximum of 10 sentences). Could you go from the first floor to the 20th floor of a building in an elevator and tell someone everything that is great about your business before you get to that floor? If your pitch is longer than that, maybe you need to refine your approach.

Rooftop Declarations

Remember, elevators are faster today than they used to be! Keep things simple. Talk about the most important points of your business. This will empower your message and ensure your express ride to the top. Brevity has power. A 60 second description may not seem like a lot of time, but it works in advertising. Many advertisements on the Internet are even shorter… lasting only 15 seconds. That brings you down to a bare bones and powerful message.

If you always think of your organizational message as an elevator pitch, it will be much easier when you contact people to get the business you want. Time is money and people don’t want to waste it. You have to grab them in the first 20 seconds of a conversation. A simple, well-worded description keeps them listening and makes their call to action much easier. It also keeps their objections to a minimum.

Create Empathy

Get your potential customers to like you. To quote James S. O’Rourke, professor of management at Notre Dame, an elevator pitch is NOT, “an opportunity to exploit, use, bore or terrorize someone trapped in an elevator with you.”Remember that. Be sincere in your elevator pitch. Couch it in a way that will ensure the empathy and support you are seeking. Don’t alienate. You need to be likeable… not notorious. That will keep customers coming back.

An O’Rourke caveat sums it up very well. “If they don’t like you, they might just take the stairs next time.”



Shelley M JohnsonShelley M. Johnson is an internationally published broadcast/print journalist who covers business/finance, marketing, technology, medical/pharma and other areas. During her tenure, she has worked for UPI-Detroit, UPI-Chicago, UPI-Washington, D.C., The Associated Press, B2B/B2C publications, Internet news portals and major broadcast news outlets such as Armed Forces Radio and National Public Radio. Shelley is an SEO/mar/com/advertising consultant to Fortune 500 firms and other organizations in North America, Asia and Europe. Some of her clients have included Samsung, HP, Hitachi, Andre Ross, Kellogg, Ford Motor, Gerber and many others. She has taught at the collegiate level and conducted webinars on marketing/PR and business. She operates a professional audio studio where she produces and narrates corporate and commercial content. Shelley may be contacted directly at She is at

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