telling timeStartups and companies looking for funding often develop a 90 second pitch, also known as their elevator pitch, to give to potential investors to garner interest in investing in the business. The pitch is clear, concise and succinctly tells the investor why they should want to be involved. The point is not to walk away with a check for millions, but to compel the investor to learn more – to secure a future meeting.

Founders spend a lot of time perfecting their pitch – including the most relevant and compelling information – into a few concise, fascinating sentences. It isn’t enough to promise a huge market and massive returns. Investors need to feel pulled to the business concept. The pitch must convey the passion of the team and make the investor feel that passion as well.

When someone asks “What do you do?” or says “Tell me about yourself” does your response leave them feeling your passion or your discontent?

Compare these two responses to “What do you do?”

“I am a financial analyst at a large healthcare company. I support our medical device division.”

“I analyze sales and revenue, providing leadership data that empowers them to make the best decisions regarding our life changing medical devices.”

Who are you more interested in talking to further? Who would you want to work with? Who would you want to hire? (And that isn’t even 90 seconds of information. Imagine if those two people kept talking for 75 to 80 more seconds.)

Here are five ways you can perfect your personal 90 second pitch (plus a bonus):

  1. Don’t say what you do, tell the value you provide. Financial analysis is what you do. Providing leadership data that empowers them to make decisions is how you bring value.
  2. Don’t say what your company does, tell the value it provides. You can work for a healthcare company or a company that creates life changing medical devices.
  3. Highlight your biggest strength(s). Give a specific example of a time you crushed it at work. “I recently developed a dashboard for our CEO with sales, inventory and outcome metrics that allowed her to see which devices were selling the fastest and also saving the most lives.”
  4. Include your passions. Make the person you are talking to feel your excitement. “I love digging into the numbers and finding the most relevant nuggets of information that can be used to improve sales or create efficiencies. Seeing my work have a positive impact on the company is so fulfilling.”
  5. Offer something. People connect more easily to givers. This will often be dependent on the situation and how much you know about the other person, but offer to make an introduction, talk more about a specific topic, or provide tips on an upcoming conference or event.

Bonus! If you have time and the situation warrants, you can include a personal tidbit.  “My partner and I recently traveled to Asia where we were able to play with tigers, visit some amazing Buddhist temples, and eat out-of-this-world food. I can’t wait to go back!” This shows that you have varied interests and your life is about more than just work, and could lead to a deeper connection about a shared interest.

Using these five tips (and the bonus) will allow you to make a first impression that won’t be forgotten.

Share your tips and tricks for pitching yourself to others in the comments below. I love hearing from you!


To get clarity on your own value and strengths, sign up for our Success Strategy Session. Being able to articulate your value to others is crucial to your success and I can show you how.