The Elevator Pitch: 6 Tips from the Heath Brothers

The elevator pitch is an adventure in selling yourself or your products. And it’s very challenging to distill your value proposition into 30 seconds.

I received an e-newsletter from the Heath brothers, Chip and Dan, authors of Switch and Made to Stick, with 6 tips for “Giving a Great Elevator Pitch.”

One tip particularly caught my attention: “If your topic is complex, use the anchor and twist format.” The core of the advice is that you start with something people are already deeply familiar with, and show how you provide something new or different.

They provide an example–getting the message out that CPR is almost as effective without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Chest pumping alone works pretty well. The American Heart Association chose to call it “CPR lite” or “CPR for dummies.”

CPR is something most people understand. Many people are intimidated by the process, and worry that they won’t do it right. And they’re reluctant to do the mouth-to-mouth part.

To help people quickly grasp the new concept, the AHA started with something familiar, CPR,  and added the new twist–chest-pumping alone can get the job done.

Take a look at a fun article in Inc. that the Heath Brothers recommend: “You Know What Your Company Does. Can You Explain It in 30 Seconds?” It’s a walk-through of the process as led by Dave Yewman and Andy Craig, co-owners of Elevator Speech, a consulting firm.

If you have any tips about how you developed your elevator pitch, I’d love to hear them and share them here.


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