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No More Elevator Pitches Please

Please stop with your elevator pitches... just for a moment. Try this as an alternate for your networking events and see how different your responses are. 

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How many times have you heard that you need to ‘refine your Elevator Pitch’? That you need to get it done and dusted in 30 seconds and it should just roll off your tongue? Yeah – how’s that going for you?

The idea of an elevator pitch is to have a short little intro to your business and what you do. Particularly used when you’re networking or meeting new people – it is supposed to be an easy way to quickly introduce yourself to others and spark up conversation.

But here’s the kicker – if you’re using it to spark up conversation, would you rather actually talk to someone about what they do, and find out more – rather than just hear a 30 second elevator pitch that you’re probably going to forget anyway?

Let me explain a little more…

Please stop with your elevator pitches... just for a moment. Try this as an alternate for your networking events and see how different your responses are.

Last year I attended my first blogging conference – which was a massive eye-opener. I had been to many conferences before but they were all for companies I had worked for and therefore we were all on the same page – no elevator pitches required.

Now, I can guarantee prior to this conference there would have been 700 or so bloggers practising and perfecting their elevator pitch. I was one of them. I tried over and over to get the words right and say exactly the right thing that would hopefully spark some interest in anyone who I said it to. That’s the theory right?

During the conference, I can’t even tell you how many elevator pitches I heard. Some people wouldn’t even introduce themselves by name – they started straight out with their elevator pitch. It was overwhelming…

And this is where it all goes wrong…

When I strike up a conversation with you it’s because I want to have an actual conversation with you. Like more than 30 seconds. I want to know who you are, what’s your passion, why do you do what you do and what is it that you do? Do you love it? What are your plans? What made you come to the conference. I want to get in a really chat.

But an elevator pitch sounds like a used car salesman coming up to you. All they want to know is if you’re interested in what they’ve got or not. Rather than being a conversation starter it feels like closed question. Like you have to decide then and there if you want to keep talking to someone based on what they do. It’s like you’re being sold to…

Now imagine that… times 700 bloggers. All wanting to spruik off their elevator pitch to as many people that will listen.

After two days of elevator pitches I didn’t want to hear another one!! I just want to talk to someone.

I don’t want you to rattle off all the fancy words and the attempts at adding in emotional responses and emotive words to your elevator pitch. You’re talking to people who do the same thing as you do. Just say it straight.

Who are you? What do you do? And who for?

I’m sure there will be people who disagree with me and that is absolutely fine. I do understand the elevator pitch and the benefits of it.

But I also believe the most powerful elevator pitches are not the ones full of emotive words and adjectives. They are exactly how you would introduce yourself to someone.

Who are you? What do you do? And who for?

So I put out a little challenge. The next time you’re networking just try it a different way. Try pushing aside the traditional elevator pitch and just talk to people. Rather than working on an elevator pitch and perfecting it, work on gaining a deeper understanding of what it is you do and why.

So when someone asks you, you’re not fumbling around trying to remember your perfected elevator pitch, your answer rolls off your tongue like any other part of a conversation would. It’s worth a shot.

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4 Comments

  1. This is so true! I worked in radio advertising sales for several years before starting my own business, and the whole elevator pitch never felt natural to me. I much prefer starting a conversation with someone and building a relationship organically. It just feels more genuine, you know?

    1. Thank you so much – it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one that cringes at the Elevator Pitch. You’re right, they don’t feel genuine – they feel salesy, and I don’t want to be sold to, I want to build connections. Love your website too – what an awesome resource!

  2. As a newbie biz owner I recently went to my first networking event. Naively I expected it would be mostly social with a little business thrown in, I felt like a clown fish thrown in a shark tank! Rather than building real connections it was rather like speed dating with three minutes to make your pitch, swap cards and move on! When I finally did strike up a conversation five minutes in she stopped mid-sentence, looked at her watch and said “Sorry, I need to move on Beth.’ My name is Beck.

    I went home, threw out the 30+ business cards I had been handed even more determined to build real relationships and not fake contacts.

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