A pitch is a 30 seconds monologue of what you do, why you do it, and how your work is innovative or unique.  People have short attention spans and busy calendars, so you want to have a clear, brief, and enticing pitch prepared. Your pitch will ensure that you make the most of every opportunity, and present your commitment and yourself in the best light possible.

You may be wondering what an elevator pitch is.

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An “elevator pitch” is a concise,carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your business that your grandmother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator from the 10th floor to the ground.

Wherever you are networking; meeting with funders, writing a grant application, or riding an elevator with someone you want to impress, you should have a pitch prepared.

To create a pitch, imagine this…

You meet Glenda on the 10th floor. Glenda is a potential partner and she asks you about your business, describe it in a way that is unforgettable and stands out.

Now, follow these steps.

Condense

Select 4-8 specific keywords that describe your business. When you select, be authentic and original. Don’t try to be who you are not or use words with unclear meanings.

Organize

The simpler the sentence, the better. How can you organize your keywords into an idea in the least number of words?

Inspire

The sentence should remain at the heart of your pitch. However, to effectively engage your audience, start with a brief description of why.This can be useful if the issue you are seeking to address is complicated, the listener will understand why as you explain what you do.

Expand (a little)

You can add several sentences to your pitch that answer who, what, when, where, why, and how, but remember to be concise.

Practice

The only way to ensure that your pitch goes smoothly is to practice (a lot). Record yourself while practicing to make sure you’re presenting yourself and your commitment well.

Practice with friends, in the end they should be able to echo the key points. Think about the questions people may ask, and prepare your answers.

Now, here’s what to do when delivering a pitch.

Audience/Objective

The first thing you need to do is figure out who you are talking to and what you want them to do for you.

Are they potential funders, volunteers, or partners? This will guide your pitch.

Problem statement

The challenge you intend to address is important, but you shouldn’t dwell on it extensively. Quickly outline the issue, then explain what you are doing about it and why.

Competitive advantage

Explain the aspects of your commitment that differentiate you from everyone else. Address how your commitment is new, specific, and measurable, and why you are positioned to tackle the challenge your business addresses.

A business needs to clarify what sets it apart; its own “purple cow”. Something that is unique in a crowded market.

Storytelling

Humanize your work. Pick an inspiring and engaging story that supports your pitch, steer clear of jargon, and demonstrate why your commitment matters.

Always have stories ready when networking.

And then there's Rainbow — or just Bow — and she is a badass.

Next steps

You didn’t spend all this time preparing for nothing. Ask for a business card, a follow-up call, or an opportunity to send along more information.

Think of a way to continue your engagement after the conversation ends. Always follow up promptly, within three days at most.

In conclusion, determine what success looks like to your business and leverage the right communication tools.  Small businesses often think they need to be on every social media platform to keep up.

Businesses should first define what it considers to be its success; and then pick the tool that best tells this success story. This tool may be a monthly newsletter, a slideshow of impactful images on your website, or a blog post or narrative video that can be shared on Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t be caught without your pitch ready!

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