Definition – The “elevator pitch” describes a short presentation of an idea, business, or a person’s qualifications. It is meant to convey a precise and persuasive synopsis very quickly (about the time it takes to ride an elevator with someone).
An elevator pitch is the most painful 30 seconds you can encounter with someone. The fortunate thing is you will only spend 30 seconds with that person giving you their spill, because you will run for the nearest exit. A few months ago, I attended a Chamber of Commerce business event. When I would approach someone to engage in conversation, each person would introduce themselves followed by trying to glaze my eyes over and rock me to sleep, with the most boring and canned explanation of what they do at their business. YUCK!
It sounded like this to me, “Hi. It’s nice to meet you. My name is __________. I am a (whatever their job title is) at (whatever company). We’ve been providing years of exceptional service for people who are looking to blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Sorry, I actually zoned out writing this.
I understood the original purpose of the elevator pitch. It was to give people information about yourself and what you do to make a memorable impression. The area where this fails is that it doesn’t engage the other person in conversation so you become a boring walking advertisement. Giving an elevator pitch, you don’t connect with the other person. So if you’re doing this, please stop. It’s torturous.
So when you are asked what you do for a living, you can replace the elevator speech with a short sentence that causes the other person to ask more questions. You can then engage them in a deeper conversation and not send them running for the nearest exit.
Let me give you some examples. Instead of telling them what you do, make it interesting by telling them a little portion of the benefits you provide.
What do you do?
If you’re a financial planner – “I help people retire early.”
If you’re a real estate agent- “I establish families.”
If you’re an author- “I write books.”
If you’re a garbage man- “I keep people healthy”
If you’re a pest control technician- “I kill unwanted guests.”
If you’re a baby sitter –“I help people keep their sanity.”
If you’re any type of manager- “I train leaders.”
You can probably come up with a thousand different phrases to say to someone. No matter what you say or how you say it, the response you’re looking for is “Really? Tell me more.” If your phrase doesn’t get that reaction, fine tune it until it does. Then you can open up an authentic conversation.
Don’t be boring. Drop the elevator pitch and be interesting. When I hear an elevator pitch, I step off the next time the door opens, whether it’s my floor or not!