"No one ever bought anything in an elevator." -- Seth Godin
"Elevator pitches are dead." -- Dan Pink
"Most elevator pitches are lame." -- Christine Kane
Three of my most frequently read authors and thinkers (including my own business coach!) don't have a lot nice things to say about elevator pitches. In their words, they're essentially useless, dead and lame.
And yet I am resurrecting my Rock Your Elevator Pitch Workshop.
Because I am... crazy? stuck in the past? defiant?
Nope. None of those.
I am resurrecting the workshop because, like you, I regularly go to networking events and hear people struggle to introduce themselves to me in a natural, interesting way. A way that gives me a picture of what they do, doesn't make my eyes glaze over and won't have me pulling a muscle trying to not roll my eyes.
Another reason is that most of the people I work with are operating in crowded fields teeming with other executive coaches, designers, recruiters, consultants. Seriously, you can't swing a dead cat at most gatherings and not hit another coach, designer, recruiter, consultant, content strategist and messaging coach. (Yep, my own field is crowded, too.) We all need to differentiate ourselves.
That's not to say Seth, Dan and Christine don't make some good points. Your first encounter with someone will not lead directly to a sale. A cheerleader-y, formulaic and ultimately robotic monologue you spew at people will not help your business. Your title alone doesn't help people understand if or how you can help solve the problem they're facing.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't use every opportunity you have to position yourself and what you do - including having your pitch or intro worked out.
Here are three ways to approach writing your pitch or intro.
Adjust Your Thinking
When crafting any content about yourself and your business, it helps to have the right mindset. Your introduction is important, but it's not the be-all, end-all of your messaging. It shouldn't be constructed to tell your entire story from the dawn of time.
I like to think of it more as an amuse bouche -- those complimentary, bite-sized appetizers some restaurants offer when you're first seated at the table. It's just a nibble, and a sign of things to come.
Cherry Pick Key Words From Your Core Message
Your pitch is all about fitting the core of your message into your introduction. Core messages are the repeated words and phrases that paint a picture of who you are and what you do. You can try writing individual ideas from your core message on separate index cards or Post It Notes then shuffling them around into something that might be a pitch.
Caution: Words you use as your title -- coach, consultant, designer, recruiter, strategist -- may feel like the key words of your core message but they're not. They're the rough sketch (at best), not the painting.
Talk To Yourself Until You Sound Like You
That perfect pitch you craft on paper might actually end up being a terrible spoken pitch. This happens more than you think because the way we write and the way we speak are two different things.
Say what you wrote out loud and tweak it so it sounds as good as it reads. Record yourself saying it. Make a video of yourself saying it to see if your body language is agreeing with your message. You have to practice it so it will sound natural, human and like you actually believe it!
There are tons of tips, tactics and approaches out there to help you craft your not-an-elevator-pitch. I've given you three, and pointed you to the very smart thinking of three other people in the opening of this post! You could write it today.
But, if you're someone who works better with live guidance and in-the-moment feedback, or who just never seems to get past the read-about-it stage to the actual do-it stage, be sure to get on my mailing list. You'll get earliest access to my online, live via videoconferencing Rock Your Elevator Pitch workshops launching this spring.
(And who knows, maybe I'll even change the name of the workshop to something more Seth, Dan and Christine approved! If you have a great idea for a better name, tell me about it in the comments.)
The elevator pitch trope may be passe but being able to give potential clients a snapshot of who you are and what you offer when you meet them will never be.