You’ve probably heard your fair share of elevator pitches. Heck, I’ve given my fair share of them.

Have you ever experienced this?

The person pitching finishes and you’re left feeling more confused than when they began. Whether it was too many buzzwords or they didn’t tailor the pitch, you still don’t understand what they’re selling.

Now, imagine it’s your business...your pitch they just heard. It’s a situation you don’t want to be in, yet all too often, many of us find ourselves in. That’s why I have a new challenge for business owners: think about how to explain your business to a middle school audience. If they can understand it, chances are your potential customers (or investors) will, too.

Don’t have access to a group of middle schoolers? That’s okay. Here are a few tips to think about how to explain your business to this age group (and beyond):

  1. Cut out the jargon, they don’t have patience for it.
  2. 10 minutes or less. The attention span of an average middle school student is 10 to 12 minutes. After that, you’ve lost them.
  3. Incorporate different learning styles. Because so many kids have access to smartphones, tablets and computers, visual is as important as auditory. 
  4. Keep it simple. Keeping it simple is one of the hardest things to accomplish. This is a great opportunity to include a focus group to see if they understand how you explain your company.
  5. Stop thinking about marketing. They’ll sense any inauthenticity and probably zone out at this point.
  6. Make it experiential, connect. But, be warned, “with immature emotional brains, students misread adult expressions and see meanness or anger when none was intended.”

So, tell us in the comments, how would you explain your business to a middle schooler? We’ll share our favorite responses.