The Three Sentence Pitch
The purpose of the three sentence pitch is to communicate who you are, what you do, and what you want in three sentences. There are many fancy ways to slice this. For example, you can include a catchy intro, articulate your unique value proposition, and exchange business cards to follow up with a call. But I’ve found that the reality of the three sentence pitch is that it changes… every… single…time. And it should. Depending on the audience and situation, the three sentence pitch may need to change drastically while still communicating the core value of the person, company, or product being pitched.
Sentence 1 – The Hook
The hook may be a catchy factoid if you are getting up in front of an audience to pitch your company. Alternatively, your hook may be “I work In the marketing department” if you’re in the elevator with your CEO and she asks what you do at the company. Every time, the hook provides your audience information they can instantly understand, relate to, and create mental associations with. It’s crucial that the listener can quickly process your hook, otherwise instead of listening to your second sentence (the most valuable sentence) they’re distracted by trying to understand the first sentence.
Sentence 2 – What You Do
This is the big whammy, the home run, the reason you’re flapping your mouth: What You Do. Many call this your unique value proposition because you need to communicate the unique value you bring to the world in just one sentence. Please don’t make the mistake of being generic with this next sentence. DO NOT simply say, “I do social media marketing” or “my company builds an IoT device.” There’s nothing valuable in that sentence because there is nothing unique.
If you are using the three sentence pitch, you want the other person to remember you and (if you do it right) make them wonder if they need what you do. A better way to communicate value based on the examples above might be, “I build our company’s brand by creating valuable content for our social media accounts”, or “Our IoT company has built the first ever regulatory compliant autonomous hygiene station” (Soapy.care).
Sentence 3 – What You Want
This can sometimes be referred to “your ask”, but I prefer explaining it as: What do you want out of this interaction? I like this explanation better because, like your hook, what you want can and should be drastically different depending on the situation. In the elevator, you may be wanting to make a good impression so your CEO remembers you. Pitching your company, you may be asking for money, or you may be looking for customers.
This third sentence should open the door to being successful in getting what you want, and it should be different in every situation. In the elevator you might say, “next time I see you on our floor, I’ll show you our customer story about Jane Doe.” Or pitching your company it might be, “We have 5,000 units in the field and are taking orders for Q2 of 2019.” What You Want can almost be seen as a secondary hook. A hook for your future with your audience.
About the Author
Crystal Harvey is the Reno Innevation Center Assistant Director, and InNEVator Program Manager. The University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center – Powered by Switch acts as the University’s avenue for supporting funded growth companies in the region. The InNEVator is a fully-funded 8-week bootcamp for start-ups in the field of IoT. Crystal’s expertise is in communicating both technology and business needs and has a background in project management, operations, mechanical engineering, and business development.