Nowadays many people have a very short attention span. So if you want to be heard by a potential customer or an investor, your message should be interesting, clear, simple and short. The last four years we have experimented with formats for the ‘perfect (elevator) pitch‘ and we came up with the 1131 format.
The format consists of four pieces: the catch, the sollution, details and the propostion. The attention is divided between the four as 1 to 1 to 3 to 1. Like 10 seconds and 10 seconds and 30 seconds and 10 seconds making one minute. Or 1 paragraph and 1 paragraph and 3 paragraphs and 1 paragraph making one page as a whole.
- The catch is about gaining attention. How will you attract the attention of the listener? Where lies her interest? Which problems is she coping with? Or for investors: which world wide problems could you point her at?
- The solution is about gaining interest and enthusiasm. What is your sollution to the problem addressed above? What is the added value of your product? What is your brilliant plan? With which idea are you going to save mankind? For what do you want to be remembered?
- Details are about converting interest into trust. Prove that you can make it happen. Show that you are not bluffing. Which are the meanest traps and how are you going to get round them? Presenting technical details and fact sheets might be a good idea at this point in your pitch.
- The concrete proposition is about converting trust into business. What is your offer to the listener? What do you want from her? Make sure that she can give a very clear and short answer. Aim for a “yes” and be prepared for a “no”.
An elevator pitch can be used in a chat in a pub. It can be a short presentation using Keynote or Powerpoint. It can be written on the back of a beermat. Or it can be printed on ten sheets with a cover. But at least you should always have one with you – where ever you go!
With our company (De Ondernemers) we help and train people with new business development. We have used the 1131 format in various contexts. With children at primary school, students, startups, artists, employees of large companies and even civil servants.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions to improve our format. Of course I am very willing to answer any questions or help you with some finetuning. Leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.