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The Elevator Pitch: How to master it in a few minutes


First impressions don't get a second chance. An elevator pitch is all about getting your counterpart excited about you, your product, your service or your project idea in the shortest possible time.


  • What is an elevator pitch?

  • Elevator pitch guide: What you should include in a short presentation

  • Where can you use your elevator pitch?

  • Advantages and disadvantages of an elevator pitch


"Why don't you tell us something about yourself?" With a well-developed elevator pitch, you will no longer stutter when asked to do so. In under two minutes, you should be able to present yourself or an idea convincingly. The elevator pitch can also be understood as an instrument for self-marketing. Situations arise almost daily in which we have to introduce ourselves briefly and succinctly. Whether it's a job interview, networking or meeting a manager in the canteen, you want to be remembered in a positive way.

An elevator pitch is a short presentation designed to convince an interviewer of a project or business idea. The term "lift" does not refer to the place of presentation, but to the duration: the few seconds or minutes that an average lift ride lasts.

A successful elevator pitch ends with the exchange of contact details and an invitation to a personal interview. To do this, you need to arouse the interest of potential employers or investors so that they want to take a closer look at you or your business idea.


The content and structure of an elevator pitch are based on the AIDA model, a fundamental communication principle in classical marketing. The model describes the four stages that a customer goes through on the way to a positive purchase decision. The acronym "AIDA" stands for "Awareness", "Interest", "Desire" and "Action". Derived from the AIDA principle (and somewhat expanded), the following scheme results for the structure of an elevator pitch:

  • Offer: What do you have to offer your counterpart? What enables you in particular to master the task?

  • Interest: How can you make your offer interesting for your potential client or employer? What is your counterpart particularly interested in?

  • Benefit: How are you different from your competitors? What are the advantages of working with you?

  • Drive: Why are you addressing your offer to this person of all people? What is your motivation for a possible cooperation?

  • Call-to-action: What do you want from your dialogue partner? What concrete help can you provide at this point?

With these 10 tips, you can create the perfect elevator pitch:

  1. Pick up the listener: The first sentence serves to arouse the listener's interest. You can do this with an interesting question, a powerful thesis or an unexpected fact.

  2. Prioritise your content: The short time span forces you to prioritise your content. It is not necessary to describe individual topics in detail. It is more important to get to the heart of the matter.

  3. What makes you special: Specifically state how you differ from your competitors and what the advantages of working with you are.

  4. Pay attention to comprehensibility: Put yourself in the position of your counterpart. He or she must be able to comprehend the information in the short time available. Accordingly, you should leave out technical jargon and complicated facts. Also, don't speak too fast, otherwise, they won't be able to understand you.

  5. Do not forget your interlocutor: In the course of preparing your pitch, you should consider which target group your elevator pitch is aimed at. If the topic is not relevant to your audience, the hoped-for result will not be achieved.

  6. Infect them with your enthusiasm: More important than the content itself is the way you convey it. Numbers, data or facts do not usually inspire the listener. You can create positive associations through figurative language.

  7. Remain authentic: If you are insecure and deliver a text that you have learned by heart, your interviewer will notice this immediately. Bring personality into your short presentation: If you are a humorous person, show this in your pitch.

  8. End with a call-to-action: End the pitch with a call to your interviewer. How can your counterpart support you in implementing your idea? What could be his or her next step?

  9. Think of your business card: Create the opportunity for further contact. Give your business card to your counterpart or aggressively suggest an appointment for another conversation.

  10. Practice, practice, practice: Take every opportunity that arises to practise your talk. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to give the presentation.


The elevator pitch is used especially where potential investors or customers and start-ups meet. However, you can meet people pretty much anywhere who could help you advance professionally. Therefore, there are many situations where you can score points with your self-presentation. However, the elevator pitch is most commonly used at trade fairs, networking meetings, job interviews or chance meetings with relevant contacts.

Trade fairs

Trade fairs and congresses are an ideal platform for making contacts, especially for job seekers and the self-employed. If you approach a company yourself or are approached there, you must be able to present your offer concisely.


Convince your potential employers with a short presentation tailored to the company. Which of your already acquired professional qualifications are relevant to the position you are seeking?

Networking meetings

At meetings of professional associations or at after-work parties you can get into conversation with important contacts. Here, too, it is important to leave a lasting impression with a successful self-presentation.

Chance contacts

You meet the managing director of a company you would like to work for at a dinner with friends. Take the opportunity and start your short presentation!


If you were able to arouse the interest of your counterpart with your elevator pitch, this can be advantageous for you in many ways. For example, your interviewer can give you suggestions for improvement or offer his or her support. What other advantages, but also disadvantages, can the elevator pitch bring?

  • You arouse interest in your person, your product or service or in your business idea.

  • You are forced to work out the benefits for your target group. This makes it easier, for example, to prepare a business plan in which you elaborate your business idea in writing and explain how you intend to implement it.

  • You learn to get your message across quickly.

  • In order to arouse interest, many tend to exaggerate. If the interviewer then delves deeper into the topic or the person, he or she may be disappointed.

  • The elevator pitch cannot be used to convey topics that require lengthy reflection. The content must be comprehensible and simple, as the short duration does not allow the interlocutor to reflect extensively.

  • The short presentation is not suitable for conversations that require dialogue (e.g. crisis talks).


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