the profession of It
the Myth of the
Behold, on the elevator you just boarded is a key execu- tive or leader you have long wished to meet. You have approximately half a minute
to say something about your project
that will engage that person and get
that person’s help. What a tremendous
boost to your project that would be!
Could you do that?
One of the most common pieces
of professional wisdom is to prepare
and practice a short speech that you
can launch whenever you need to
make a quick summary of your project, your company, or your idea. You
cannot predict when the circumstances will arise where it would be
valuable to do this.
The elevator pitch, sometimes
known as the elevator speech, is a
short summary that quickly defines a
product or service and its value proposition. A successful pitch induces the
listener to make a decision sought by
the speaker. The pitch is usually approximately 30 seconds, never more
than two minutes.
There is certainly great value in being able to give a clear, concise, memorable summary of your work. However,
the elevator pitch has been enshrined
in mythology that greatly inflates its
importance and promises an outcome
it cannot deliver. The success of your
venture depends on much more than a
short pitch. We will examine the elevator pitch claim and offer guidelines on
how you can make a short summary be
a useful part of your repertoire.
The lofty exemplar of elevator pitches
is the TV reality show “Shark Tank,”
which features entrepreneurs pitching to a panel of investors. Investors can do anything from rejecting
pitched proposals to opening negotiations or offering outright purchases.
The show offers great entertainment,
drama, and suspense. We can only
imagine the fight-to-the-death competition of elevator pitches in the auditions for the show.
A recent celebration of the pitch
appeared in the popular Sherman’s
Lagoon cartoon by Jim Toomey. One
character, about to enter an elevator
pitch contest, tells his friend that an el-
evator pitch “is a fast-and-furious busi-
ness proposal I give you while we ride
in an elevator together. By the end of
the ride, you like me enough to give me
money.” His friend responds, “There
isn’t a building tall enough.”
Elevator pitches are a hot topic on
the Web. Hundreds of Web sites offer
PHoto Gra PH by CHaoss/sHutterstoCk. CoM