Why You Should Rethink Elevator Pitches Completely

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Last month, I wrote about how to make your elevator pitch super lean and mean. Well, I'd like to amend and refocus that a bit today by suggesting that perhaps you shouldn't be pitching your business or company idea in an elevator but instead using the opportunity that sharing the same oxygen with a mover/shaker affords to instead suggest you set up another time to meet. That's right: Don't pitch the big idea in a short amount of time, but instead suggest you meet again later.

Seth Godin, the entrepreneur, author and public speaker who specializes in "marketing, respect and the ways ideas spread" has reached a similar conclusion. Actually, that should be no shock, given that in 2009 he gave a TED talk on how to get your ideas to spread.

From a recent blog post Godin penned:

The best elevator pitch doesn't pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It's not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it's a little fractal of the entire story, something real.

One last thing to rethink? Don't just use this for elevators. Use it anywhere you only have a couple seconds to make a lasting impression with someone you'd like to work with and receive help from.

Godin's posts are sublimely short, so if you aren't too familiar with his blog, I'd highly suggest checking it out. Here's a good one to start with: How to get people to do what you want them to. Seriously, his post is about twice as long as that headline in all.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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