Create a pitch that’s interesting, captivating, and unforgettable.
A well-crafted elevator pitch is a versatile tool to have throughout your professional career. It’s meant to be interesting, captivating, and unforgettable—and delivered with confidence in 30 seconds or less.
...No pressure, right?
Fortunately, crafting a pitch for your UX career is a fairly straightforward process. It simply requires knowing what to include, and what to cut out.
Let’s get started.
What’s an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short description of what you do and why it matters.
Simplicity is key here: the general consensus is that a great elevator pitch sits at 75 words or less, and takes approximately 15-30 seconds when spoken out loud.
Why You Should Perfect An Elevator Pitch
I’ll be honest: my gut reaction to the phrase “elevator pitch” used to be those stereotypical, sleazy salespeople. The ones who flag you down so they can spout off a list of products, and why you should absolutely buy them, right now, ASAP.
And honestly, if you’ve ever searched for elevator pitch templates online, that’s exactly what you’ll end up sounding like. So let’s take a step back and reframe the entire concept:
An elevator pitch is NOT meant to “seal the deal”
30 seconds is simply not enough time to introduce yourself and convince someone to buy a product, or hire you for a position.
An elevator pitch IS meant to open a conversation
A good elevator pitch should be so fascinating that it makes the other person want to respond with: “Tell me more!” When viewed this way, your pitch stops being an uncomfortable sales tactic.
It’s transformed into an invaluable tool to have in your pocket, whether you’re interviewing for a new position, doing some professional networking, or pitching a product design to stakeholders.
6 Steps to Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch
1. Include the Fundamentals
Traditionally, elevator pitch templates include 3 elements:
Introduction: Introduce yourself (or your product/business)
Problem/Solution: What’s the problem & how do you solve it?
Value Proposition: What are the results of this solution?
We’ll use Alexa, a UX designer, as an example:
Introduction:Hi, I’m Alexa. I’m a UX designer
Problem/Solution:A lot of people struggle to use software products, especially on their phones. I conduct user research and create wireframes that help optimize the mobile usability of your app interfaces
Value Proposition:so that software companies reduce their churn and make more money
It's a good start. And also: very bleh.
2. Eliminate the Introduction
The first edit you can make is to delete the introduction. This is a practical edit, since introductions should take place, regardless.
Hi, I’m Alexa. I’m a UX designer. A lot of people struggle to use software products, especially on their phones. I conduct user research and create wireframes that help optimize the mobile usability of your app interfaces, so that software companies reduce their churn and make more money.
A little better, but still rambling.
3. Focus on the Benefits, not the Features
When I get nervous, I am the literal queen of conversation killers. My gut reaction to the question “What do you do?” is to tell them, quite literally:
“I’m a copywriter. I write and edit marketing copy for companies that want to connect with their audiences. So not only do I work on blogs and email newsletters, but I also track the effectiveness of each article with Google Analytics to make sure it’s connecting with the right audience.”
To that, the listener responds with…crickets. No one cares about your task list (except a project manager, and that’s only because they get paid to look at it). Instead of listing out what you do, focus on how and why it matters. Since conducting user research and creating wireframes are items on my task list, we’ll cross those off. Reducing churn and making money are technically success metrics, not true benefits. Delete.
A lot of people struggle to use software products, especially on their phones. I conduct user research and create wireframes that help optimize the mobile usability of your app interfaces, so that software companies reduce their churn and make more money.
4. Skip the Jargon
Every business, niche, and career path is cluttered with jargon.
While you might be dying to have a good conversation about prototyping constraints, those terms don’t belong in your elevator pitch. Sit down with someone who’s basically familiar with your line of work and ask: “How would you explain what I do?”
Likely, you’ll hear phrases like:
Makes it easier for me to use the app on my phone.
Meets with people to find out whether they can actually use X software, or if it’s too confusing.
Makes X program easier to use.
Right away, you’ll notice that “usability” and “interfaces” aren’t terms that the average Joe throws around.
So instead of saying:
I optimize the mobile usability of your app interfaces
you could say:
I make your software easier to use on mobile devices.
5. Clarity is King
You may or may not have reached the 75 word count at this point. I’ll be honest: that should be your absolute, utmost, maximum limit. Instead of trying to fit as much as possible into your elevator pitch, ask yourself: “How can I make this more concise?”
For example: the most memorable elevator pitch I’ve ever come across comes in at 8 words.
I write the only newsletter anyone opens anymore.
- Laura Belgray
She doesn’t waste time chit-chatting about copywriting, conversions, engagement, or open rates, but it’s all there between the lines. Absolute perfection wrapped up in one bold claim.
The moment you come across this little pitch, a thousand questions come to mind: COME ON, LAURA, REALLY? Ok, fine, you caught me. How? What’s the secret? What’s different between you and the thousands of other marketing copywriters out there? Do you share your techniques? Do you have data to back it up?
…remember what we noted earlier about the ideal elevator pitch being a conversation starter? Laura Belgray nails it.
Our UX example might look something like: I make it easy for you to use your favorite apps on your cell phone.
6. Practice on Your Own and with Others
At this point, you should have a solid pitch. In order to deliver it with confidence in front of an audience, you have to practice.
Say it out loud to yourself in the mirror every morning.
Say it to your work partner over lunch.
Heck, call up your mom and say it to her over the phone.
Speaking the pitch aloud might feel uncomfortable. But the more you practice, and the more feedback you get on your delivery, the easier it will be to say it—word for word—in a natural, conversational tone.
5 Examples of Real Life Elevator Pitches in UX Writing
Real life elevator pitch examples aren’t only found on Shark Tank or podcasts like The Pitch. One of the best ways to gain inspiration is by simply checking out the homepage of successful, high-converting websites. Here are a few examples of UX writing that stand out with their pitch-style messages:
Getting someone to pop in their email address is no easy feat, but Morning Brew makes you want to know more, to see their work in action. Enjoyable news, really? Informed and entertained? For free? This is absurd. I’m going to see if it’s real (submits email address).
Remember what we said about eliminating jargon? Some rules are meant to be broken.
SEO is definitely industry jargon, but in this context, it’s a smart move, since Moz isn’t in the business of teaching what SEO is. Instead, they want to speak to individuals who already understand the basics and want to uplevel their tools and techniques.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need an elevator pitch that speaks to a very specific industry requirement, by all means: use the jargon.
WordPress.com is one of the most popular platforms already when it comes to building websites. They continue to attract new clients by emphasizing the “ease of use” benefit:
Create a website in minutes. Wordpress.com gives you everything you need to start your website today.
Elevator pitches tend to come up in high-stress situations like job interviews, networking opportunities, and in a meeting with high-level stakeholders, which is one of the reasons why these little impactful speeches are often avoided altogether.
But if you’ve put the effort into crafting, revising, and practicing your pitch, it will become a great tool to invite more questions and open in-depth conversations about your design work.
Looking for unparalleled career support—such as help with your elevator pitch—on your journey to becoming a UX/UI designer? Explore our UX Academy program which involves up to 6 months of Career Services where we help you with job applications, interview prep, and perfecting that all-important elevator pitch.