The Subtle Art of the Elevator Pitch

We all know senior leaders are time-starved and often have very short attention spans, so it’s important to convey your messages quickly and with impact if you want to win them over. 
Lee Smith

22 November 2023
Employee Experience
Employee Engagement
Business case

Whether you're at a networking event, a conference, or literally in the elevator (or lift) with the CEO, the art of the ‘elevator pitch’ – a short and compelling statement that effectively conveys your purpose, value, and goals within about 30 seconds - can make all the difference in leaving a lasting impression. Let's dive into why perfecting this skill is essential for EX and EE professionals.

1.     When it comes to credibility, first impressions matter
First impressions often set the tone for professional relationships, so a well-crafted elevator pitch is your secret weapon. It's your chance to showcase your expertise, passion, and the unique value you bring to the table in a matter of seconds, helping establish a foundation of credibility early on.

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

2.     Clear, concise communication counts
We’re all juggling a myriad of responsibilities every day and senior leaders are no different. Getting ‘face time’ with your stakeholders can be tricky – even more so in the world of hybrid working – so you need to grab those opportunities with both hands. Time is of the essence, and an elevator pitch undoubtedly helps you convey your message concisely.

Trim down your professional narrative to the most critical points, allowing you to communicate what’s important without overwhelming your audience.
3.     Showcase your value proposition
Craft your elevator pitch to emphasise what sets you apart – and to educate.

In our recent EX Report research we discovered that EX practitioners are often solo operators – individual pioneers working to enhance the experiences of ordinary employees, but typically without the luxury of a team. Not only is that a lonely place to be at times, but the embryonic nature of EX itself means you have to work harder than more established functions to get your point across.  

EX is not well understood in the boardroom, so you’ll need to find a way to convey what it is – and what it means to your organisation – crisply.  Developing an elevator pitch will help you articulate what EX is all about and why it matters, as well as the value you bring to the table.
4.     Adapt for different audiences
Flexibility is key when it comes to elevator pitches. One size doesn’t fit all and you’ll need to adapt your pitch to suit different situations, stakeholders or audiences. Context is king.  

Before you create your elevator pitch, it's crucial to understand who you'll be addressing. What are their concerns, priorities, and goals related to employee experience? What’s their experience before this point? Who are likely to be the sceptics and who do you think will be more supportive?

Whether you're addressing senior executives, peers, line managers or frontline colleagues, you’ll need to tailor your message to resonate with the specific needs and interests of your listeners.
5. Build confidence
A well-practiced elevator pitch can boost your confidence in professional settings. Knowing that you can articulate your purpose with clarity and impact builds self-assurance. This confidence will not only enhance your networking skills but also contribute to your overall professional growth.
6. Open doors
Effective communication is the cornerstone of collaboration. By mastering the art of the elevator pitch, you open doors for meaningful connections and collaborations – which are vital to your success. Whether it's engaging with colleagues, partnering with other departments, or building relationships with external stakeholders, a compelling elevator pitch can pave the way for successful partnerships, enabling you to join-the-dots with other functions and start to address the many challenges of holistic EX.
7. Continuous improvement
The beauty of the elevator pitch lies in its adaptability. As your professional journey unfolds, your pitch should evolve with it. Regularly revisit and refine your elevator pitch to ensure it remains a true reflection of your purpose, ambition, role and accomplishments.

There are lots of ways to go about crafting your elevator pitch. If you’re an EX Practitioner or EX Professional member check out the STORY framework in the Tools & Templates section and have a go for yourself!