Elevator pitch

    Spotlight Audio 8/2019
    Elevator pitch
    © Marija Jovovic/istock.com
    Von Ken Taylor

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    Transcript: Elevator pitch

    David: In each edition, business communication expert Ken Taylor joins us in the studio with tips on using English at work. This time, Ken has tips on how to explain quickly to people about your organization and your role in it.

    Ken: Hello. This is Ken Taylor from London. In conferences and international meetings, people often ask who you work for and what you do. In this situation, you need an elevator pitchKurzpräsentation, 30-Sekunden-Präsentation (für die Dauer einer Fahrstuhlfahrt)elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short description of your organization and of your role in it. It’s called an elevator pitch because you should imagine you only have the time it takes to travel a few floors in an elevator with the other person. So, your elevator pitch needs to be short and to the point. But it also needs to be positive and convincing. Listen to this conversation between two delegates at an international conference. Listen carefully to their elevator pitches.

    Ella: Nice to meet you. I’m Ella Davies.
    Luke: Nice to meet you too. I’m Luke Woodhall. Have you come far?
    Ella: Actually, yes. My company is based up in Scotland.
    Luke: And what does your company do?
    Ella: It’s called Business Links. We’re a logistics company based near Glasgow. If you need just-in-time deliveries, we can help you on a national or international basis. We can to tailor-makeindividuell anpassentailor-make a logistics solution to to matchentsprechenmatch your specific needs. 
    Luke: Interesting. And what do you do there? 
    Ella: I’m a key account managerGroßkunden­betreuer(in)key account manager. I manage the relationships with several key customers. If you were one of my key accounts, I would be your one-stop solution partner. And what about you? Where do you work?
    Luke: I’m based in London. We’re a management consultancyBeratungs­-consultancy company called Reliance. We specialize in supporting companies in mergerFusionmergers and acquisitionÜbernahmeacquisitions. So, if you want to take over a competitor, we help you do that in the most cost-effective way.
    Ella: And what’s your role there?
    Luke: I’m a senior partnerSeniorchefsenior partner. Like you, I’m involved in supporting key accounts. I lead teams of consultants who would come into your company and help with the M and A process.

    Ken: Both Ella and Luke were practised at giving elevator pitches. Their pitches were briefkurzbrief — only three or four sentences. But they were clear and to the point. They both said what their companies could do for the other person. They used the word “you” and used positive words to describe their work like “one-stop solution” or “cost-effective way”. Now it’s your turn. Imagine you get into an elevator on the tenth floor of a hotel with another passenger. You’re carrying a bag with your organization’s logo or name on it. The other person asks, “What does your organization do?” In the following pause, answer their question using three or four sentences. Try to use some positive words and try to relate it to the other person. Pause the track now and work out the elevator pitch for your organization. When you’re ready, start the track and speak in the pause.

    Now imagine your fellow lift passenger asks, “And what do you do there?” Again, pause the track while you work out your elevator pitch. And again, use some positive language and relate it to the other person by using the word “you”.

    How did you get on? I would suggest that you to polish(auf)polierenpolish your elevator pitches until you feel totally happy with them. Then practise them several times until you feel comfortable saying them. Now you’ll never be lost for words when someone asks, “What does your organization do and what’s your role in it?”

    David: If you have a question for Ken, send it by e-mail to language@spotlight-verlag.de. If Ken chooses your question to print in Spotlight magazine, you’ll receive a free copyExemplarcopy of his book, Dear Ken... 101 answers to your questions about business English.

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