The Truth about Elevator Pitches

The Truth about Elevator Pitches

My eyes hurt. There is one particular muscle that has been over-used that I fear may leave me blind. Each time someone in the business world says the words “Elevator Pitch” I automatically roll my eyes. It is a repeated and learned response from a business buzzword that needs to be put in the wood chipper. (Said in the same voice as the pregnant police woman in Fargo.)

Last time I noticed, people do not talk in the elevator. There is that incredibly scintillating and interesting display of numbers fabulously back lit in red.. sometimes green. We stand in the elevator and watch the numbers with such profound interest. (Except the weird woman with the Crayola red hair, she makes it her personal commitment to talk in the elevator. That woman is me- avoid 221 Main at all costs!)

I know I know. It is a “saying” – Elevator Pitch. I get the concept. Just like most things in our culture- the original idea has been diluted with so much practice that the shine has worn off the rose. I listen to people “stay on message” so well that they appear to be devoid of all passion and feeling as they perfectly roll the phrases off their tongue.

The kiss of death, really. If a person is not interested in what they do: certainly no one else will be either. I was talking with a dear friend of mine today about life, business.. being a mom… changing the world. You know, little things.

I must have written down 7 pithy sayings that could message my company. The free flow of conversation and interpersonal exchange influenced my ability to create new ways of describing my daily experiences. Contrast this telephone call to the PARALYZATION I feel trying to write the opening paragraph on my company website.

It hit me. Inhibition. We realize how critical communication is, individually and organizationally, and thus the inverse relationship between the importance of the conversation and the creativity. (Of course throw into the mix the permanence of the statement and the inability to offer additional thoughts.)

Most moms out there have used the phrase, “Use your words” to their toddlers. The same apoplexy that attacks us before our molars come in is the same inhibition that keeps an intelligent team member from telling the “CEO the baby is ugly”.

Where am I going with this blog.. I rarely know. It just seems to me tonight that this desire to have everything wrapped up in a nice and neat little bow, so we know EXACTLY where to cut the bottom of the box so we can extract the toy surprise with out dipping our hands in the sugar, is causing us to lose something.

Next time you are in the elevator and someone is interested enough to ask you what you do… (Sure, like that will happen) trust that the elevator will get to its destination even if you are not looking at the numbers… and answer them in a creative way. Try something new. When uninhibited it is incredible the perfect words we create.

Don’t trust me… trust yourself- in that wonderful brain of yours is the next “Can you hear me now?”

In terms of full disclosure: do understand that I hate elevator pitches largely due to the fact that I am unable to craft a good one.


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