The concept of the “elevator pitch” has become popular in recent years. An elevator pitch is what you would say if you were lucky enough to find yourself in an elevator for 30 seconds with the CEO of a prospective client company.
The biggest problem with an elevator pitch is that you may actually tell it to someone.
Why do I say this?
The Next 30 Seconds
I am much less interested in the 30 seconds you are in an elevator with a CEO than I am interested in the next 30 seconds, after you say goodbye in the building’s lobby. What happens during this subsequent 30 seconds? Is the CEO totally mesmerized by his encounter with you, unable to stop thinking about this incredible person he just met, or does he grab his cell phone and make a call, as the memory of you quickly fades away?
Monologue vs. Dialogue
If you want to create a memorable encounter with someone, don’t expect a 30-second monologue to do the trick, no matter how well it is crafted. You will have much better success if you focus, instead, on creating a 30-second dialogue.
The worst thing we all learned about marketing that it is mostly based on one-way communication … “getting the word out,” “telling your story,” “making your pitch,” “cutting through the clutter,” and, my personal (un)favorite, “capturing eyeballs.”
Humans don’t connect with monologues the way they connect with dialogues in which they are engaged. If you want to communicate with someone, don’t talk at them. Talk with them.