Forget Everything You Know About Elevator Pitches

vlog_elevator_pitch Nov 17, 2017

You are at a networking event and you get the standard “So, what do you do?” question. Many experts will tell you to have an “elevator pitch” or a positioning statement memorized and then to launch right in. I think there is a big flaw in this approach: It presumes that everyone we talk to will receive that pitch the same way. It doesn’t account for the reality that people come from various backgrounds and experiences and will each understand your message differently (or not at all).

 How many times has someone from an industry or field you know absolutely nothing about given you a scripted spiel—and you’ve found yourself checking out and nodding politely because you’re so mystified? When what you do is tightly niched or specialized, you need to first set up some context with the individual you’re talking to (whether it’s your grandmother or a CEO) so your one-of-a-kind message will make sense to that person, sink in, and be memorable.

 But how do you set up context? I recommend a having a small library of elevator pitches at the ready. Then, bookend your pitch with questions: Start with a question, customize your pitch accordingly, ask more questions—all while resisting the urge to sell.

The framework can help you think this through. Use the column on the right to jot down your pitch and the questions you might ask someone in a conversation about what you do.

Click Here to Download your own worksheet to create your own elevator pitch conversation.




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