Getting ready to give a pitch, whether elevator, investor, or otherwise? An effective pitch can help you to get a job, get a raise, get a date and more. An effective pitch can improve your career, your finances, your relationships and your community. But, if you include one of these twelve show-stoppers, your elevator will always be stuck on the ground floor. Take note, and be sure to leave these out of your pitch, if you want to persuade and influence your listener!
If you’re pitching as if your life depended on it, you’re already dead. The old idea of “pitching” someone is an antique — take a deep breath, and have a conversation. People know desperation, and they know they don’t like it. Stop pitching and start connecting, if you want to make a difference.
2. Faking it
If you can’t be authentic, you’ll never be heard. Nothing is more compelling than integrity, so always be true to yourself. First and foremost: you’ve got to be real if you want to make a real connection. If it feels like you are “pitching,” you’re doing something wrong.
3. Reciting It
Delivering a rehearsed speech is a great job — for actors. Your story has to be natural, and a conversation. If an unexpected question stops you dead in the middle of your monologue, you’ve missed the mark. Sure, you need to know your subject — but what’s natural and authentic about a rehearsed speech? Not much.
You know what’s wrong with schmoozing? Nothing, if it’s sincere. But the “Hey babe, let’s do lunch” kind of schmoozing is networking at its worst. A real and authentic connection is the only antidote; professional networkers need to find a different career. Quality, not quantity, is the name of the game in your relationships.
5. Overplaying your pitch
“My name is Kevin, and you’re welcome for shaking my hand. As you can see, I’m eight shades of awesome.” Wow. Nothing says, “I’ve got no game whatsoever” like unearned confidence.
6. Hiding the ball
The opposite of overplaying your pitch, this quiet-size approach leaves your listener wondering, “Why am I here?” A pitch is a persuasive conversation; if you have nothing to offer, you’re probably on the wrong elevator.
7. Letting fear win
When the stakes are high, your nerves will always be invited to the party. When you make your message more important than your fear, you are on the right track. Being nervous can stop you in your tracks, if you let it. Make your message matter more than your fear, and see where that elevator takes you.
8. The dog ate my homework
In my book, The NEW Elevator Pitch, the Millennial CEO, Dan Newman says that you have to know something about your subject — your audience — before you ask them to “buy” in to you. If you haven’t done your homework (Google and LinkedIn are readily available), you don’t deserve to be heard.
Making connections is about sharing your vision; a vision that challenges the status quo in some way. What’s your solution? Are you clear on what you’d like to create for your listener? When the objective is persuasion — the conversation begins with your vision for the future.
You’re never fully dressed without a smile, as the song says, and without a smile on your face your message will never be complete. Over 93% of communication is non-verbal (except on Twitter, of course). If you have some powerful verbal jujitsu but no smile, you don’t have much. The best pitch is the one that’s easiest to listen to; make sure people can see the smile in your message!
11. Mirror, mirror
Is your story all about “me, me, me?” Your pitch isn’t compelling until you shift from first person (I, me, my) to second person (YOU). When you make the second person first, your pitch becomes engaging. What can we do, together? That’s a great conversation!
12. No call to action
Great smile, great story — now what? If you’ve got a message to share, then you owe it to your listener to let them know how they can get involved. What support do you need: support for your cause? Your candidate? Your career? Take time to include an invitation — you just might be surprised at the answer you receive!
Featured image courtesy of TheZionView via Creative Commons.
@westfallonline Chris, I had to practice elevator speeches at my Marketing Job Seekers group every week, and had to hone it to the point where I sounded confident, but not too "awesome", as you wrote in #8. Good tips here, thanks!