A quality elevator pitch can open a range of new doors for your small business. This little marketing communications device is one of the most useful tools to have in your back pocket in case you happen to meet a potential investor, customer or employee and have a short window of time to impress them.

An elevator speech or pitch is a short explanation of who you are, what your company does and how it helps a particular audience, Black Enterprise explains. It's supposed to be short enough that you could give the whole pitch in the span of time it takes for an elevator to ascend or descend one floor.

If your elevator pitches are so long you'd need a high rise to deliver the entire thing, these eight easy tips will help you focus and tighten it.

8 Ways to Improve Your Elevator Pitch

1. Be Brief

Most elevator pitches are one paragraph or a maximum of four sentences. Use a stopwatch and time your pitch. If it's longer than 30 seconds, it's too long; your listeners won't be able to retain the information you're providing.

2. Use Short Sentences

Short sentences are easier to remember for both you and your listener. Keep your pitch straightforward.

3. Focus

Focus on the "who-do," the key statements in your pitch. The "who" is who you help, or who your company serves. The "do" is what you do to help others, solve a problem or change something in the lives of your customers.

4. Avoid Jargon

Much of business jargon today is so hackneyed that listeners won't absorb the meaning of what you're saying if your speech is peppered with it. Jargon may also grow stale or dated quickly, making your pitch sound outmoded to forward-thinkers. Instead, use words your audience will understand, whether you're at a networking event, a trade show or speaking to a stranger on the subway.

5. Speak to Your Audience

Keep your audience in mind when you write your pitch; speak to them, not at them. If you're speaking to industry insiders, you may want to vary your pitch slightly from the language you use when speaking to potential investors outside your industry.

6. Be Creative

Use a sentence or description that stops people in their tracks. An emotional appeal is particularly powerful, says Entrepreneur. It's one of the most effective ways to keep elevator pitches memorable.

7. Talk About Results, Not Processes

Your listeners probably aren't interested in how you manufacture a widget. But they are interested in what that widget will do for them. Focus on the results.

8. Avoid Turning Into a Commercial

You're not reciting a commercial; you're giving an introduction. It's not time to sell a product or service. It's time to make a good first impression that leaves your listener wanting more.

A great elevator pitch takes time to develop and practice. Start incorporating these tips today for a spectacular pitch tomorrow. Who knows whom you'll be standing next to when those elevator doors close?

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