The Art of the Social Pitch #2 Why Elevator Pitches Don’t Work!

The Art of the Social Pitch #2

Andrew Priestley is an award-winning business coach with a degree in psychology.

Last time we talked about helping clients make an informed decision. (If you haven’t read that blog go back to The Art of the Social Pitch #1)

So today I want to talk about …

The Elevator Pitch and why it doesn’t work

The term ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver a succinct summary of what you do (or a proposition) in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes and is widely credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso (while he was Editor for Vanity Fair).

The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will either continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.

That’s the theory.

And you know what? For a time that worked – until everyone caught on to the idea of hanging out in lobbies of buildings hoping fore the chance of meeting someone influential in an elevator. (This is in fact the premise for the hit musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying).

Fast forward 50 years and we are now very savvy on ‘stunts’ like elevator pitches. Let’s hear about people who are pitched constantly in public.

For example, try doing an elevator pitch with Mike Harris of First Direct, Egg and Garlick fame. He will fix you with a very firm gaze and ask politely ask, “Do I know you?”. Entrepreneur Dale Murray will politely but firmly say, “Please make an appointment?” knowing full well how hard it is to get a time in her diary. And Simon Cowell will simply say, “Stop. No.”

See what ran parallel with learning elevator pitches was learning how to be assertive.

But there are still course out there on elevator pitching and hundreds of blogs offering ridiculous tips like make three points, be different and be prepared.

What they don’t talk about is the window of listening. If the window is shut you are shut off or out.

Which is why elevator pitches don’t work.

Tip: Elevator pitches still operate on the principle of doing something clever to someone to trick them into business.

Next: We’re going to explore the Window of Listening.

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