Woah, it’s my elevator pitch (with a brief Keanu Reeves cameo)
Developed in the 1990s (or 1970s, or 1850s, depending on which story you believe), “elevator pitches” are short, snappy project descriptions designed to be delivered to busy executives on the move. Smart solution for our time-starved era, right?
Well, maybe. If you’ve ever tried to deliver your own elevator pitch, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. I love to blab, so I always struggle to be buttoned up and “concise”. Before I know it, one sentence turns into twenty, and soon panicked folks are tapping on the elevator buttons and ready to bolt. Say goodbye, big-launch-of-my-dreams.
But even the prep work for any pitch can be painful. How on God’s green earth can you distill all your genius and sweaty yahoo brilliance into just ONE OR TWO SENTENCES? It’s like a special version of hell for anyone who likes to make just one more point in every conversation.
So I decided to take a tip from Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell is Human. He’s got six different approaches to the elevator pitch, including one where your pitch is limited to (wait for it) just ONE WORD.
In a world where buyers have ample information and an array of choices, the pitch is often the first word, but it’s rarely the last. - Daniel Pink
It definitely hurt my brain to try to limit my work and business to a one-word pitch, but the process surprised me. By choosing my word (“stretch”), I started thinking more deeply about my mission, which is all about pushing past comfort zones and being willing to take bigger risks, on stage and off.
Sadly, my brilliant one-word pitch won’t be tested in any elevators today (can you imagine having someone smile knowingly and say “stretch” to you in an enclosed space? EEEEEK.)
But take a tip from the pros and try to re-do YOUR elevator pitch. Cut the crap and focus on the core of what you do. What’s the heart of what you’re trying to achieve? Can you limit it to one word?
This exercise might be exactly the sharp, ice-cold dose of insight you need to get fresh perspective. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves...woah.