Where did the elevator pitch come from?
Its origins are often thought to have started in the film industry, when writers and directors had to quickly pitch their ideas to studio heads. Director Ridley Scott's movie Alien was originally pitched to the studio as 'Jaws in space'. The Bourne Identity was also given the green light from the studio on this simple sentence: 'What if a man with amnesia has forgotten he's the world's deadliest assassin?'
It's not only the film industry that uses the elevator pitch; most television advertisers will follow the format to tell a story in 30 seconds or less. When the creators of the now iconic magazine Wired were looking for backers they simply pitched that they wanted the magazine to feel like it was 'mailed back from the future' – they got the cash.
So here's our version of the elevator pitch – a simple five letter acronym named ARMED
When you begin your presentation you need to grab our attention. It could be that you start with a question, a controversial statement or a problem to solve. It can also just be as simple as asking your audience to close their eyes and think of a piece of technology that’s changed their lives forever. You could open with a personal story that draws us into your presentation - there are many options. If you need to tell the audience who you are - you can always do so once you’ve grabbed their ATTENTION.
Why is the audience listening to you? How will what you say effect them? Will it make their lives easier, more profitable, give them more time with their family? Whatever it is, make sure it is RELEVANT to them and not you.
What is it you want us to take away from your presentation? Do you want to save the company money? Invest in new technology? Tell everyone they’re going to have to start working on weekends? It’s crucial that you know your central MESSAGE as everything revolves around it.
Giving your audience an example to illustrate your message allows everyone to imagine how this may work. An EXAMPLE of where of you implemented this system or process previously, supplemented by data or images will also give an audience greater options for understanding.
What is it you want your audience to DO and how will you know that they are doing it? You could be specific about what the next steps are and when they need to happen. Does the audience need to get a written response back to you by a certain date?
'Do' can also relate to thinking or feeling. You may want to provoke an emotional response from your audience or want them to contemplate the situation/idea/proposal/etc.
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