An introduction to Pitch Practice: how we started the weekly meetup, and how we created a starting structure for anyone to build a great elevator pitch from 3 years and 1,000 startup pitches from the Pitch Practice meetup in Atlanta Tech Village.

Your elevator pitch has ONE and only one purpose: get the next meeting. So, you should make it short (<30 seconds), tell a story, focus on the problem, and ask for something. Instead of starting from a blank screen or paper, start by answering these 6 questions:

  1. What’s your name?
  2. What’s the name of your organization?
  3. What is the problem you are solving?
  4. What is your solution?
  5. Who is your ideal customer?
  6. What do you need?

The problem you are solving is your “why” (from Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”) and it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with some problem or pain that your audience has. Tell the story of why YOU came to the realization that you can solve the problem. Nancy Duarte’s TED talk on how to tell a story in a presentation provides a great backbone for how you can tell your story. Everyone loves a story, and that’s how you make an emotional connection with your audience, whoever they are.

Your ideal customer is the person or group or people or business entity that will pay you money. Investors like it when you know where the money is coming from, and that entity is the entity that currently is experiencing the problem that you are solving. Finally, you need something – a sale, investment, referrals, advice, a co-founder, leads, etc. – so ask for something according to who your audience is. At some point, you will have to ask a prospect for money to make them a customer or from an investor to raise capital.

That’s the starting point for just about any pitch.

You can have your pitch featured on the Pitch Practice Podcast by sending an .mp3 file to pitch@pitchpractice.co or by going to kevinsandlin.com/pitch and recording it right there in your browser or by calling 404-477-4450 and leaving your elevator pitch on our Google Voice number.

Your words matter! So practice your pitch.

What do you think?