I’ve shared on numerous occasions since hitting the book tour back in January that I’m less than fond of elevator pitches…let’s state the obvious: no one wants to talk in an elevator. The less than obvious: those highly rehearsed 60 second blurts of information are not conversation starters. It’s a one-size fits all marketing bark, that only perhaps resonates with the fifth dentist (let’s see how many readers of this newsletter get my toothpaste marketing reference here).
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have facts, figures, explanations of what you do, how you do it and who you do it for at your fingertips — but customize, personalize your introduction, make me want to lean-in and ask you more questions!
All that being said….I do think there is a place for a very-well rehearsed elevator pitch. And here’s what I had to say about it in Build Your Dream Network:
What is more anxiety causing: having to hear one more elevator pitch or having to craft your own? There is nothing more awkward than being introduced to someone (whether it is at a party or reception or event) and then immediately having to listen to the person’s pitch, rather than starting a conversation. But you need to have your elevator pitch ready, because there is one un-expected place you really need to nail it: a Q&A session at a conference or event.
Picture this typical conference Q&A session scenario for a moment. You’re at the Women Entrepreneurs Festival in New York City, and investor Joanne Wilson has just finished her keynote interview with Diane von Furstenberg. Joanne then opens up the remaining time for Q&A. You rush the microphone and . . . How do you maximize the moment when more than four hundred sets of conference-attendee eyes in a sold-out room are on you? With a well-crafted elevator pitch.
Most people blow the opportunity. They forget to say who they are. They don’t really have a question and just want to share their “smarts.” We’ve all sat through this. It is agonizing.
What you should do is say, “My name is X. I do Y,” or “My start-up solves X problem,” or “I’m a student at Z. My question is, ______________.” Be quick, clear, and concise in connecting everyone in the room to who you are, what you do, and why they may just want to talk to you after the event. As for the insightful question you asked the speaker? It’s the perfect conversation starter now, isn’t it?