We’ve all heard that we should be ready to deliver our elevator pitch at a moment’s notice, but too often our 30-second pitch is just a windup into a long monologue about what we do and how beneficial our product/service is to our clients — all without taking a breath. We’ve all been at the receiving end of this type of “pitch” as we frantically scan the room for an escape route before we get swallowed up into the Pitch Vortex and have to listen to intricate minutiae of 10 years worth of business history. Much like an over eager first date, we learn way too much about a company before we’ve even considered if this is something or someone we’re interested in connecting with.
The problem starts with the name itself.
According to Chris Westfall, author of “THE NEW Elevator Pitch,” the original elevator pitch came from Hollywood; an aspiring screenwriter would corner an unsuspecting executive in an elevator and pitch his/her concept during the time it took to ride an elevator. The screenwriter had between 30-60 seconds to get their idea across and (hopefully) schedule a meeting. The pitch became the hook to a potential story that would hopefully find its way to the big screen.
According to Westfall, The NEW Elevator Pitch should be “a message that focuses on your story and your style;” It’s about “creating action.” Instead of a wind-up pitch, a networking conversation should start with a sound byte, and when done well, becomes part of the larger story of your brand.
Instead of pitching, break down your story into bite-sized nuggets of information or little stories that provide your listeners with a fresh take on an old problem or a passionate insight into why you got into this line of work in the first place. And yes, this also works for accountants. These short vignettes help us put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonist and telling your business story through their eyes, not yours makes us curious to know more. What we really care about is why your clients work with you so telling a story from their perspective feels genuine and authentic. Unlike the pitch whose purpose is to “sell us,” a sound byte engages us through storytelling, something that is both human and relatable. So the next time you’re at a networking event, share your best client story and remember you only have 30 seconds!
Author: Orly Zeewy, Brand Architect
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