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The Art of the Elevator Pitch

The art of the elevator pitch, courtesy of Modern Manners Guy. 

By
Richie Frieman
August 31, 2012

 

I go to tons of networking events and hear - as well as give - "elevator pitches" pretty often.  An "elevator pitch" is an old phrase used to describe a short 10-15-second explanation of something you're working on. Think of it as a mission statement. The point of the elevator pitch isn't to explain the nitty gritty, but rather to make the person you're pitching excited and intrigued by you and your proposal.

If you're going to give an elevator pitch, remember: It's all about timing. I don't mean how much time you have with the person, I mean the timing of when you deliver your home run pitch. Timing is key in etiquette.  Having proper timing when it comes to social norms shows that you have fully grasped the concept of being an adult. And that goes double for business dealings.

So when you finally do have that chance to pitch yourself or your idea, do it with class and tact. Shake the person's hand, make eye contact, speak clearly and succinctly, and smile.  Say exactly who you are and what you do; end by asking them the same. Don't shift your eyes side to side, pepper your words with parasite words like "umm" and "you know," or talk their ear off with details of why they should take you up on your offer. I promise you, if someone cares to know more about you or your product, they will inquire. If you tell me you're a car salesman, you don't have to tell me how many cars you sold last month to get my attention. I know what you do and if I'm interested, I'll ask for more. Make sense?

Lastly, a good elevator pitch is about confidence, not arrogance. When you have those quality minutes with someone, take that time to make a connection rather than a sale. Save the hard sell for when you've developed a relationship.

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Photo courtesy of the Agency Collection and Getty Images.

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