Do you realize how few of us actually work in an office building anymore? For that reason, we rarely “do business deals” in elevators. Yet, that term – ELEVATOR PITCH – remains synonomous with getting someone to understand the value of what you do for a living. There’s nothing push-button about it. Most business people struggle with this short, precise, form of communication. First of all, it’s scary to be put on the spot like that. Secondly, it’s just so darn hard to sum up what you do in so short amount of time.
And, let’s talk about the time limit for that Elevator Pitch of yours. If you’re working with a coach or consultant who tells you an Elevator Pitch is roughly 30-60 seconds, then you’re being misled. That was the gold standard of yesteryear. Nowadays, that notion is an antique. A relic. Today, if you’re still talking about yourself for 60 seconds it’s considered rambling.
We live in a world that communicates through email subject lines, tweets, and Hash Tags. Research shows a goldfish has a longer attention span than most Americans. Sad, isn’t it? The goldfish will hang with you for about ten seconds. We can’t even do that.
So, how do you explain what you do, and why they need it in a few, short, seconds? Here’s the answer. You give just enough information to motivate them to want to know more. Think of it as a bite-size appetizer instead of the full entree. Oh, and it has to be quick, concise, and memorable. You want them to tell other people about you. “I just met this gal who discovered a way to lose weight and buy the house of your dreams in just three months!”
Of course that’s not realistic, but you get the idea. How do you go about crafting an Elevator Pitch on steroids? Do me a favor. Find someone reputable to help you. It’s SO important. The Pitch is the most important first step to defining your marketing message. If you skip this, you’ll only have to double back later. By that point, you’ll have wasted more time and money than either one of us wants to discuss.
And, please don’t think that someone’s template of, “FILL IN THE BLANKS AND YOU’LL HAVE AN INSTANT PITCH” is worth much. All that does is insure that you’ll sound like everyone else who’s filling in the blanks. It will surely lead you to more blank stares. Your audience will still not get what you’re saying. For an Elevator Pitch to take you to the Top Floor, you have to make sure that your get it right – right from the start. Otherwise, just take the stairs!
Mary Jane McKittrick is a Messaging Expert who specializes in the art of the pitch. As a Consultant and a Coach, Mary Jane inspires and empowers business professionals to craft messaging that gets measureable results. Mary Jane is a former TV News Anchor, Reporter, an Producer for 3 network affiliate stations. She has worked behind the camera in Entertainment TV, and as on-camera host of 2 nationally syndicated TV shows. Ms. McKittrick was in charge of overseeing communications for 5 statewide offices while serving as Director of Corporate Communications for a large healthcare company in North Carolina