It’s hard to summarize what we do, for whom, and what makes us different in a concise way. Whether you’re trying to raise funds for a new business, or have an existing business up and running, a concise articulation of what you’re all about can be the difference between the cold shoulder and a conversation. In this post I’ll share two exercises that can help you, and your team, get the point across to potential clients.

To be clear, I’m not proposing that you have a canned sixty second spiel that you say over and over again. What I’m really after is a set of building blocks that you can fit together on the fly based on who you’re talking to. These exercises are focused on identifying your most engaging building blocks and learning how they fit together. In the end, you should have greater fluency telling  stories that resonate with potential clients or customers.

Elevator Pitch Exercise #1

This exercise is designed for teams of 4 or more participants. In the template below, use the top text boxes, each participant should summarize 4 interesting ideas or concepts that relate to your companies’ work and title each idea. In the bottom text box, cite a real world example of how the idea has impacted the business. If relevant, indicate where the idea came from, and where it can be researched further. Once complete cut this sheet on the dotted lines and see if it’s possible to identify groups or categories between all your ideas. These ideas can now serve as the basis for your pitches’ building blocks. It is also helpful to identify which ideas compliment each other, which ones flow together, and if there are better business examples to cite for each idea. Click on the image below to download a PDF worksheet:


Here’s a quick example of what one entry might look like:

  • TITLE: Fail Fast
  • SUMMARY: Many companies, and internal teams, are afraid to fail. In reality failing fast, and often, is one of the best ways to set a course for successful innovation
  • EXAMPLE: When we were looking for ways to improve customer service, we focused our energy on lightweight service programs that we could prototype before committing to a direction. This approach allowed us to try a few ideas that seemed a bit crazy, but which turned out to be key to changing the way customer service is done in our industry. The result was that we set a new best practice.

Elevator Pitch Exercise #2

This exercise is designed for teams of 4 or more participants, though the best results are achieved with larger groups. Each should fill out a copy of the worksheet.  Once all the worksheets are complete, draw out a chart with columns for each entry field on the worksheet. Review each worksheet and add it’s content your chart. When complete, remove duplicate entries and look for new combinations that improve the pitch. Variations of this exercise are fairly common and are based on a Mad Lib approach to writing pitches. Click on the image below to download a PDF worksheet:


Here’s a quick example of what one entry might look like:

Hello, I’m Roland. I work with Smart Method Consulting. We help companies with active online user bases by leveraging their communities to improve and promote their products. Our customers include both service and product companies, such as Adaptive Path who were dissatisfied with traditional community management apporaches. Our service includes a social media and technical audit that provides an online communications strategy and roadmap. Unike larger full-service marketing firms we offer a marketing 2.0 approach that is focused on customer satisfaction and product innovation.

Wrap Up
Once these exercises are complete you’ll want to get some practice combining your building blocks. Whenever possible, try to lead the conversation towards specific stories about real people and measurable results. Use your pitch to lead into a short case study. Like your pitches you’ll want to be familiar with enough of your case studies to have something appropriate on tap. If you’re interested in learning more about how the write and prioritize case studies read my earlier blog post about that here.

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