Elevator Pitch – Definition

Cite this article as:"Elevator Pitch – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated November 17, 2018, last accessed October 20, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/elevator-pitch-defined/.


Elevator Pitch Definition

Elevator pitch is a business term used to describe an quick summary or overview of product, idea, or business venture. A derivation of the elevator pitch is the “personal elevator pitch”, in which an individual tells about themselves. The notion general denotes the speech that is delivered in short time generally 20-60 seconds (the time it takes to go from the lobby to the top floor of a building in an elevator). The elevator pitch, regardless of the context, is about creating a future opportunity.

More Information on What is an Elevator Pitch

The objective of the elevator pitch is to generate interest in the idea, business, or person from a particular individual or group. It is seen as a manner of expressing a value proposition to an influential person. The objective of the pitch is to create opportunity through a follow-up meeting or continued relationship following the pitch. Below are some common uses of the Elevator Pitch.

Elevator Pitch for a Startup Venture

Many entrepreneurs use the elevator pitch to make potential investors aware of a startup venture. The pitch generally explains the nature of the business, the team, the value proposition, the stage of the business, the competitive advantage over competitors, and the objectives or goals of the business. All of this is very difficult to deliver in such a short period of time. A successful elevator pitch generally ends in an invitation from the investor to have a longer, formal meeting to discuss the business venture.

Read in detail about how to develop an investor pitch in our Investor Pitch Course.

Elevator Pitch in Sales

The elevator pitch is something that has historically been part of sales — though without the fancy name. In sales, the pitch makes a potential customer aware of a product/service and the value it has to offer. It is used to create interest and ultimately lead to a sale.

Personal Elevator Pitch

The personal elevator pitch is designed as a networking tool. It is primarily used during networking nights or during career fairs in which a potential employee has a very short amount of time to explain herself and make an impression on a potential employers.

The personal elevator pitch generally explains who a person is (their background), what they want professionally (career aspirations), and what they have done to achieve it (experience, work, training, and educational background).

References for the Elevator Pitch


Academic Research on Elevator Pitch

  • ●      The perfect (elevatorpitch, Pincus, A. (2007). Bloomberg Business Week18. This article is a guide focused on helping business owners/salespersons better present their business to potential clients. It follows a recommended outline which possible suggestion edits to fit different business models.
  • ●      The myth of the elevator pitch, Denning, P. J., & Dew, N. (2012). Communications of the ACM55(6), 38-40. This study provides a detailed approach on creating one of the best elevators pitch. The author aims to show readers the common mistakes and possible corrections for creating a winning bid.
  • ●      Empowering frontline nurses: a structured intervention enables nurses to improve medication administration accuracy, Kliger, J., Blegen, M. A., Gootee, D., & O’Neil, E. (2009). The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety35(12), 604-AP2. Seven hospitals from the San Francisco Bay Area participated in an 18-month-long Integrated Nurse Leadership Program, which was designed to improve the reliability of medication administration by developing and deploying nurse leadership and process improvement skills on one medical/surgical inpatient unit. This study suggests that frontline nurses and other hospital-based staff, if given proper training, resources, and authority, are well positioned to improve patient care and safety processes on hospital patient units.
  • ●      The pitch and business plan for investors and partners., Boni, A. A. (2012). Journal of Commercial Biotechnology18(2). This study provides the essential details of creating and delivering a pitch for business owners. It proposes the use of a specified template, which should be edited by businesses whenever they wish to deliver a new pitch.
  • ●      The new elevator pitch, Westfall, C. (2012). The author aims to outline the key points needed for a successful pitch. His main objective is to help business owners identify the strong words which can result in a great deal of positive change in their businesses.
  • ●      The Perfect Elevator Pitch To Land A Job, Collamer, N. (2013). This article analyses the steps/provides an outline for making a great pitch.
  • ●      Lost in transition: Issues in designing crossmedia applications and services, Pasman, G. (2011, October). In Proceedings of the 29th ACM international conference on Design of communication (pp. 175-180). ACM. This article analyses the use and required design quality of crossmedia communication. It shows the various ways in which this technology has evolved, and proposes a model of designing crossmedia applications and services by describing experiences from teaching a course in crossmedia interaction design to industrial design students.
  • ●      Presentation trainer, your public speaking multimodal coach, Schneider, J., Börner, D., Van Rosmalen, P., & Specht, M. (2015, November). In Proceedings of the 2015 ACM on International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (pp. 539-546). acm. The author wishes to present the user experience evaluation of participants who used the Presentation Trainer to practice for an elevator pitch, and show that the feedback provided by the Presentation Trainer has a significant influence on learning.
  • ●      Coopetition at elevator pitch events? A case study of micro-activities at a business innovation event, Rusko, R., Härkönen, K., & Liukkonen, S. (2016). Journal of Innovation Management4(3), 79-100. Although coopetition studies often focus on innovations and knowledge creation, these studies often ignore three perspectives: coopetitive micro-activities, short-term coopetitive activities and short-term coopetitive micro-activities, especially as sources of innovations. This study takes the initiative to fill this gap using a case study example of the first (elevator) pitch event held in Finnish Lapland.
  • Model identification of a micro air vehicle in loitering flight based on attitude performance evaluation, Wu, H., Sun, D., & Zhou, Z. (2004). IEEE Transactions on Robotics20(4), 702-712. This paper presents a model identification of a micro air vehicle in loitering flight, based on the input-output data collected from flight experiments on a homemade 1-m-sized aircraft. The main objective of this paper is to show by use of simulations and experiments that the flight performance obtained by the proposed ARX model-based compensation control can be improved.
  • THE RELATIONSHIP OF INVESTOR DECISIONS AND ENTREPRENEURS’DISPOSITIONAL AND INTERPERSONAL FACTORS., Jourdan Jr, L. F. (2012). Entrepreneurial Executive17. This paper analyses the increased interest in elevator pitches of entrepreneurs, and the different factors which impacts investors’ decisions in a particular pitch/oral presentation.

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