Elevator Pitch

If you’d got into the lift on the 4th floor with Steve Jobs and couldn’t explain what you’d done for Apple before you reached the lobby you’d be fired, or so the story goes…

It’s unlikely you’d have a similar career changing conversation in a lift but there are many business success stories that began with a brief, chance meeting with an influential figure.
Imagine you and another passenger both get off the tube at the wrong station and strike up a conversation. He asks you “what is it that you do?” If you had half an hour you could eloquently describe your business but as soon as you see the next train is in one minute you’re totally stumped.

Instead wouldn’t it be nice to hear a brief, accurate and impressive description of your business and realise the words were coming out of your mouth!
So where do you start?

The quote often attributed to Mark Twain “I’d have written a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time” sums it up. A few well-chosen words require much more thought and effort, especially when your objective is to delight and intrigue the listener and invite them to find out more. An “Elevator Pitch” is exactly that, an opening gambit.

The secret is to know what you’d say in such situations and have a range of words and phrases that you feel so comfortable with you can unconsciously put them together making them sound fresh every time; but don’t imagine that those off the cuff remarks great speakers use haven’t been carefully thought through.

Whether it’s a chance meeting or a one minute description of your business at a networking event begin your preparation by deciding what you want the outcome to be and work back from there. In such a short space of time you can only hope to captivate the listener to the point that they’re eager to continue the conversation.

When delivering training I often ask participants for good and bad examples of the skill they’re learning. When I ask myself the same question near the top of my worst “pitch” list are people who sound like they’ve rehearsed their speech until it’s so polished it’s like a cheesy “ad” and it just doesn’t ring true. Of course I advise trainees to plan and rehearse what they’re going to say but to a point where they can be flexible and respond to the situation and the listener. It’s like the difference between watching a dancer who looks like they’ve practiced until they’re perfect but are somehow robotic or one who seems be completely natural and as one with the music.
So what are my tips for a great “elevator pitch”?

Do your research – what is it that clients find interesting and intriguing about what you do? Be fun and entertaining – an “elevator pitch” is the business equivalent of flirting so “catch their eye” and make them want to talk to you! Remember though that, as in all relationships, at some point you’ll have to be yourself so make sure what you say is really you.

Jo Cherry . Jo Cherry Training Ltd www.jocherrytraining.co.uk
01256 409005 · 07963 076 985 · This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.