Elevator Pitch Blues

You have thirty seconds. Stop what you’re doing, grab your phone, and set the timer. Hit start and explain to me who you are, what you do, and why I should care… all in half a minute.

Try it. We’ll wait.

They used to call this an elevator pitch, as in, you’d get in an elevator, and someone would ask you what you do. From the time they asked you that question until one of you got off on your floor, you’d have the chance to pitch them on who you are, what you do, and why they should care. Pick a tall building, and you might have one full minute. Ride an elevator in a shorter building, and your opportunity to create a connection shrinks.

Time is of the essence. You better be prepared.

Can you do it?

When we ask people to try this exercise, one of three things happens. Occasionally our target is fully prepared and can rattle off their response in a clear and engaging way. They ooze confidence. On the opposite side of the spectrum, people respond with a look of terror and no idea what to say. The fear is paralyzing. Most often, individuals start confidently, and then their response begins to wander… aimlessly… at which point they put on that look of terror. They can feel it when their response is going off the rails.

So, which one are you? Confident and prepared, scared and unprepared, or the aimless wanderer?

If you’re confident and prepared, you’ll impress people and create instant connections. If you’re scared and unprepared, you’ll leave people unimpressed and disconnected. If you’re an aimless wanderer, you’ll end up throwing up all over people verbally, leaving them confused and messy.

Those are your options.

The good news? If you’re reading this today and feeling unprepared, or your elevator pitch tends to wander, you can fix that. A little bit of work, and you’ll be ready to show up with a compelling response on the tip of your tongue. You’ll have a story to tell, and it will be one that people want to listen to.

How do you make the transition?

It begins with investing some time working on your reply. Some questions we ask as we’re working with our clients to create their one or two sentence responses include:

  • What words define your organization? If you were to describe your organization from the INSIDE, what words would you or your team use? If a customer or vendor were to describe your organization from the OUTSIDE, what words would they choose? Answering these questions is a great way to start developing your brand vocabulary.
  • What products and services do you provide? Make a list of all the products you produce, and the services you provide. Then, go one step further with this. If someone buys your product, what are they really buying? Check out this example. If I order pizza for eight hungry teenagers, the pizza is the product, but I am really buying eight happy and satisfied kids.
  • What makes your brand unique? List the unique qualities that differentiate your organization. Stay away from permission-to-play words like quality, service, or trust. Your competitors already use these words, and your customers expect these things from you. Dig deeper. Then, for each unique quality, write down one positive impact that it creates for your customer.

Simple questions like these will help you get started on your way to creating a strong, fast response to, “Who you are, what you do, and why I should care?”


* This article was provided by OrangeBall Creative