pitch styles

Pitch Styles: Keep these 3 in your back pocket


Did you know there are different kinds of pitch styles? You’ve probably figured this out after presenting your startup and failing. Having the wrong pitch is a super awkward problem everyone wants to avoid. If you believe a pitch only happens inside a meeting while talking to investors, think again. As it turns out, when you have a startup, you are always pitching socially, at casual meetups, and even while networking on social media. Because you never know when you’ll need which of these 3 types of pitches, you must absolutely nail each. 

To have the right pitch for the right situation, I made a list of three pitch styles to keep handy.



Pitch Style #1: The Intro’Duh’ction Quick Intro:

The most basic pitch style we’ll review today is the Quick Intro. The Quick Intro is a short sentence of what your startup does. This heavy lifter is about 25 words long and is supposed to introduce you, show what you do, who you serve, and how in under 10 seconds. It helps you briefly share what makes your startup unique to someone who doesn’t know you. It’s broad and simple enough that anyone can get a good idea of what you do. You’ll use the Quick Intro very often. You can say it every time you shake a new hand. Because it’s easy to understand, it’s a great way to break the ice and get a new conversation going. You can also use This short but strong pitch on your social media profile so anyone can understand what you do right away.


Pitch Style #2: The Elevator Pitch

Next up, this Pitch Style is a classic! The Elevator Pitch is about 60-90 seconds long, and it offers a deeper view of your startup’s operations while still being conversational. The elevator pitch is the norm across pitch rooms, startup events, and business meetings. This short recap is a great way to bring others to speed on how you work. You can talk about your role in the company and what’s your mission. It’s a great chance to explain the problem you solve, for who, and why it matters. A good elevator pitch also talks about what makes your startup thrive, like your team and key differentiators. To sum up your success, talk traction and goals. However, one of my favorite things about an elevator pitch is that you can have an ask ready to go. You may be looking for capital, but it starts with small conversations. The ask is a great way to get others to help you get what you need to build your startup. You can ask for introductions, advice, and so much more. To create one for yourself, use the Ok Yes Elevator Pitch Builder.  


Pitch Style #3: The Five-Minute Pitch

Onto the most complex pitch style we’ll talk about today. The Five-Minute pitch is a formal way to depict your startup. Sure, short-and-sweet is fantastic for conversations. But an in-depth pitch shows you’re ready for business. It’s the standard for business meetings, so it shows clear data about your startup’s viability. So, the Five-Minute pitch usually has a pitch deck with all this information. Now, while it’s formal, it doesn’t mean a Five-Minute pitch is boring—quite the opposite! Stakes are high during meetings. So, it’s more important than ever to have a bold and persuasive pitch. Good storytelling is the name of the game for these long-format pitches. Use the Ok Yes Storytelling Tool to develop a great pitch story outline. Be aware that the Five-Minute pitch isn’t static; it’s supposed to change as your startup grows. I recommend going over your pitch every few weeks or when the startup meets a new goal. Always lean on the Ok Yes Pitch Deck Notions to create a great presentation.  


Practicing your pitches

Once you’ve created your pitch styles for Intro’Duh’ction Quick Intro, Elevator Pitch, and Five-Minute Pitch, it’s time to practice them! Taking the time to rehearse your pitches makes a big difference when you use them. When you give yourself the chance to internalize–rather than memorize–your pitch, you become one with your pitch. I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘I don’t have time for this!’ but it doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. First, write down each pitch separately. Read it out loud, and try to catch any hard-to-say words or places where you stumble. Review those words and choose some that come easy to you. Then, aim to spend a few minutes each day reading your pitches out loud. Don’t try to force repeating the pitch word-by-word; that’s how you end up sounding like a robot! Instead, feel the flow of how you say things, and let your brain do the rest. The more you read your pitches in early practice, the better you’ll feel about what you’re saying. You’ll get to a point where you’ll feel confident enough to recite your pitch in front of the mirror! Another great way to perfect your pitch is to record yourself as you do it. Reviewing yourself may be daunting initially, but it’s a fantastic way to improve your delivery. **You can read more in this post.** 

record yourself pitching in an informal setting. what words do you use?


Taking your pitches into the real world

Now that you have your pitches ready to go, let’s take them for a spin! There are many places you can go and practice each one of these pitch styles. Pitch Rooms is where entrepreneurs go to pitch, and make a meaningful connection with other startup founders. I personally love 1 Million Cups local chapters. Usually, the pitch rooms allow Elevator Pitches or Five-Minute Pitches, but don’t assume. There are usually rules about what to present, so find out how it works. Then, you can attend networking events to introduce yourself–and your startup–to new people. Try to keep the conversation casual and let it take its course. Never force a pitch onto someone that’s not ready to hear it! These are all great opportunities to see how well your pitch is received. Pay close attention to the follow-up questions people ask. If they want to contribute feedback, process it, and then decide if it’s something you can use to improve your next pitch.  



It may seem like a lot of work to prepare three different pitch styles. However, understanding the context of the situation and delivering the right pitch will open doors for your startup.      

About Alejandra Copeland
Hello! I’m Alejandra Copeland, and I cut my teeth as a visual communication expert by producing and editing video content for MTV Networks, NBC Universal, and Viacom. Since 2004, I have pushed Andromeda Productions as a premier marketing video production agency. Throughout the years, I’ve created enduring client relationships with multiple Fortune 500 companies, such as MasterCard and Sony Music US Latin.
About Ok Yes Pitch Storytelling
Leveraging 20 years of experience with visual storytelling, I’ve created Ok Yes, a marketing toolkit for early-stage startups and small businesses.
It’s loaded with guides to creatively empower entrepreneurs to tackle things like:

Writing a pitch for your startup
Producing a product demo
Making a persuasive case study
Creating Help and How-To content
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