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Preparing and writing your elevator pitch

A well-crafted elevator pitch should explain who you are and what you do, what your specialism, product or service is and your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Your USP is what makes you unique and makes you a better choice for your customers (or collaborators or potential employers) than your competition. The pitch needs to be founded on your key strengths and what you can offer to your customers that others can’t. This might be something like excellent personal service or specialised knowledge, or it might be something more image-based. For example, the car manufacturer Volvo is always associated with safety. Other cars are safe too, but safety has become associated in particular with the Volvo brand because the company has spent a lot of time and money establishing it as their territory. This is a good example of a long-term consistent brand message that pays off.

Think through what your USP is and begin to put it into words.

Next, use your USP as a starting point to plan and write your elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch should be brief – ideally 30 seconds; no longer than 60 – and should be a persuasive speech that exudes your passion, sparks interest in you and makes you memorable.

Tips for planning your elevator pitch

  • Reflect on the activities you have already completed, such as the SWOT analysis, your team role(s) preference and your values.

  • Identify an objective for what change you are aiming for in your career and who you are hoping to network with. What is it you are aiming for?

  • Identify your USP.

  • Plan what you want to say.

  • Make it interesting and enthusiastic.

  • Draft, redraft and edit – remember this will take time and you will go through several revisions before settling on your final version, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time.

  • Spend your time rehearsing until it doesn’t sound rehearsed.

When you have a draft you are happy with, review it using these questions:

  • Is it under 60 seconds?

  • Does it make you memorable?

  • Are you acting naturally?

  • Have you removed jargon that could lose your audience?

  • Could it be considered too ‘sales-y’?

Now make any changes and practise, practise, practise!

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This article is from the free online course:

Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking

The Open University