Stop Pitching in the Elevator

A reporter doing an article on Elevator Pitches recently asked for my brief input.  First, I said that I preferred ‘Elevator Speech’ to ‘Elevator Pitch’. ‘Pitch’ sounds like you’re trying to sell something. No one likes to be sold to. ‘Speech’ sounds like you want to share some information. Even though the difference in connotation is subtle, it can impact the mindset of the person doing it.

The purpose of an Elevator Speech is to answer a stranger’s question ‘What do you do/” in an effective, efficient and engaging manner. It begins a short, focused dialog. It’s not a monologue. The purpose of that dialog, in turn, is to begin to answer two important networking objectives questions:

  1. Is this person someone I or someone I know can help?
  2. Or, can this person or someone he or she knows help me?

They’re separate concepts and connected with an ‘or’, not an ‘and’. ‘And’ implies that you can’t have one without the other. Not true for best in class network pros.

Here’s an example – ‘What do you do, Phil?’ ‘I empower business leaders to reduce their pain when communicating with colleagues or customers by phone, in person, in writing or through presentations … The pain they experience and, often, the pain they cause others’

Why is it effective? – short, simple, clear language, benefits-related. Clever hook at end.

So, stop pitching in the elevator and start engaging in dialogues. The people you talk with will appreciate the difference and your results will improve.