I don’t like the concept of the elevator pitch, that 30-second monologue that is designed to summarize your story, but will have the actual effect of obscuring your story.  (See this post, Tear Up Your Elevator Pitch and/or page 77 in my book We)

I’ve had people in television production and venture capital say this to me: “But sometimes I need an elevator pitch.  The (television network/investor) doesn’t want to give us much time, so they require that we give them a 30-second pitch.”

That’s true. It’s too bad, but it’s true.  So let’s explore how to deal with the mandated pitch.

Realize that the goal of the mandated 30-second pitch is not to sell your television programing idea or raise $25 million in investment capital. Yes, it would be wonderful if you achieved that outcome, but it is very unlikely. The only goal of the mandated 30 second pitch is to interest your customer in having a deep, relationship-building conversation with you.

Look at the mandated 30-second pitch as an aperitif.  An aperitif is an alcoholic drink that is served before a meal to stimulate appetite. (Digestifs, in contrast, are served after meals to aid digestion.)  The only thing you want from the mandated 30-second pitch is to whet the appetite of the person you are trying to sell.  The aperitif doesn’t make the meal, but it makes a great meal possible.

So, like a skilled dinner host, recognize the limitations of the aperitif you serve. See it for what it is: a gateway to something much more memorable. Don’t depend on a mandated elevator pitch to make your sale.

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