How to create an elevator pitch in 5 minutes or less

A design pattern for pitching ideas

I’d like to first start off by saying, I’m a coder. I’ve been coding for nearly a decade but the reason why I went back to school in 2007 to complete a Master’s in Communication Management was because I found myself struggling to convince my senior bosses to give me the green light on my tech ideas. I would try to explain to them the power of Ruby on Rails, Lucene, JSON, OO Javascript, ElasticSearch and P2P but it always fell on deaf ears. Looking back, not only was I too techie, I was also unaware of this really great human trick. For any of you fellow coders reading, think of it as a design pattern for pitching ideas.

What’s a design pattern you say? Wikipedia defines it as a “general reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem within a given context in software design.” In our case, the “context” is pitching an idea and no, it’s not MVC, or abstract factory, or observer, facade, etc. Instead, it’s one that some might try to downplay as a “soft skill”.

But in most cases, without this skill, you’ll probably never get the chance to build the app you think is worthwhile or build the company you think that can change the world. It’s call the “idea introduction pattern” and it was discovered by Geoffrey Moore.

The idea introduction pattern is so simple, it’s nearly bulletproof. Best of all, you only need to learn this single design pattern once and you’ll be able to carry it with you throughout your career. The pattern can work in any job and in any industry. This simple string of sentences can help open more doors than you can possibly imagine.

Investors who hear you use the “idea introduction pattern” will respect you for your transparent approach to business and mindfulness of time.

The universe will equally reward you for your clarity.

Here’s how it works. If you ever need to pitch an idea to a team, boss, bigger boss or investor, follow this pitch as quoted by Oren Klaff:

For [target customers] who are dissatisfied with the [current product offerings] in the market. My idea/product is a [new idea or product category] that provides [key problem/solution features]. Unlike [the competing product], my idea/product is [describe key features].

All you need to do is use this boilerplate paragraph and fill in the [blanks] with specifics that pertain to your idea, product/service or plan.

That’s it! That’s all you need to complete your “elevator pitch”.

Start pitching!

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