Why is the typically elevator pitch as boring and meaningless as sliced bread?
You know what I’m talking about. How many meetings have you attended when the chair person asks everyone in the room to deliver his/her elevator pitch? A one or two sentence description of your business that can be delivered in the span of an elevator ride. And then it happens. There’s a drone of similarity, a monotony of ordinariness that makes each pitch indistinguishable from the next.
I’m of course as guilty as the next person. My pitch too could use a once-over.
William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, in their book Career Distinction, have a useful exercise to help you craft an elevator speech. They suggest that you make a list of what makes you the same from your competitors and what makes you different. It’s the difference piece that you want to get across in your elevator speech since that’s what will make you stand out.
I like to think as the elevator speech as containing three parts. In addition to what makes you different – be it your style, your experience, your passion or any other quality – it needs to also include a “what”
It’s the “what” that often trips someone up. Instead of explaining the results that are delivered, a lot of people will simply say that they work for X company in sales or run a Y-type business. Frankly, who cares? The “what” needs to include some measure of excitement and value. Here are two example of a “what” courtesy of Arruda and Dixson:
“To help high achievers take control of their own career success”
“To deliver the powerful, breakthrough advertising campaigns that yield revenue and brand value for consumer products companies.”
Let’s see if we can compile our own list of best and worst elevator speeches. Let’s have some fun with this. I’d love to hear from you.
Wendy Marx, Personal Branding and Public Relations, Marx Communications, Inc.