Wednesday, September 16, 2015

5 Don'ts to Building Your Perfect Elevator Pitch

I am so pleased to feature Rebecca Barth on A Novel Creation today. We met through an online writing group. Rebecca is talented, funny, and smart (Must be something with the name, huh?) As I began preparing for the ACFW conference, I asked Rebecca to share her thoughts on developing the perfect elevator pitch. The result? This post for the benefit of all.  Enjoy.

There you are, in an elevator randomly with the CEO from Big Company. You have 12 seconds to give her the pitch of your life! And you say…

“Floor 7, please.”
While short, succinct, and to the point, that elevator speech may not get you very far beyond, well, Floor 7.

It is a fabulous idea to be armed and ready with a short phrase about who you are. I know this because I have been networking a lot lately and, frankly, sharing a different elevator pitch each time. As my mother used to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  
As I work on refining my message into a beautiful package wrapped up in a ten second bow, let me teach you what NOT to do. Being the analytical and scientific gal that I am, I have tested all of these ideas out for you in advance. You can thank me later.

5 Don’ts to Building Your Perfect Elevator Pitch
1.     Share your entire curriculum vitae in one breath: “One time, in 1st grade, I planned an entire play for my classmates. I cast everyone in various roles, leaving the star role for myself, naturally.” This little known but apparently critical fact on my speaking resume is best left to the second or third conversation.

2.     Forget what you do: If you are a creative type in any way (writer, presenter, adult coloring booker), you know what I mean (or maybe it’s just me?). “I’m a manager at ___ company. Oh yeah, and I write some on the side…” Impressive. I usually have fries on the side. The main course is the key. What are you serving up in your elevator pitch as your main course?

3.     Suddenly forget your thesaurus: “I studied the Bard in college. Billie and I, we are tight."  Here’s a picture of my fav mug of all of William Shakespeare’s best insults. Even though I can use the phrase “quintessence of dust” with the best of them, when you ask me what I do, I might say, “Write.” Or, “speak.” Or, my all-time favorite evil word, “just,” as in, “I just write.” Wow. Knocking socks off with that impressive elevator pitch, am I right?

Here's a picture of me with my fav mug of all of William Shakespeare's best insults

4.     Suddenly remember your thesaurus: “I furnish value propositions for aggregations with the wherewithal of capital fluidity but that lack congruity for employees.” While my Brainiac-to-English decoder ring translates that as, “I solve problems for successful companies with employee engagement issues,” your prospect may not be carrying the latest techie wristwatch.

5.     Go Mad Maxx and the Braggerdome: Ever meet those people who can brag more in 10 seconds that you have bragged in your entire lifetime? Strong and powerful are not synonyms for suffocating and prideful. (I Googled it, just to make sure. Nope. Not synonyms.)
What should an elevator pitch look like? I haven’t found one more practical than what my mentor Lois Creamer teaches. While geared toward speakers, her advice shared HERE is applicable beyond the naturally verbose crowd.

I have so much more to share with you, like the time I danced to Barry Manilow’s “Daybreak” on stage in front of millions (or perhaps it was only a crowd of 30 forgiving moms and dads?), but what to say after the elevator pitch is a story for another day…

Rebecca Barth is an expert at the business of fun. With 20 years of executive business experience, she inspires businesses and organizations to lead and engage by letting the walls come down. Nobody said business had to be boring! Follow Rebecca’s blog at or hire her to speak at your next event.

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