Elevator pitches: No!

Oh, fercrinowtloud!!  NOBODY needs an elevator speech.  Great or otherwise.

Imagine you thought I could help your business.  And let’s say for the sake of argument that, indeed, if only we both knew it, I could be the saviour of your business.

Imagine further that you find a way of delivering your elevator speech to me in some situation.

Now imagine me saying to you, “Please naff off, Mr/Ms X.  Elevator speeches are such an outmoded, discredited, foolish concept and, far from convincing me of the value to me of helping your business, all you have done is convince me (however unfairly) that you are a jerk [from the Old French, jouèrque, a misguided person, colloq.]”.

Now I am going to imagine you replying to this post along the following lines.  “Ah, but Mr Marchant, when I said “elevator speech”, I didn’t, of course mean what you understood by “elevator speech”.  I couldn’t agree more with your judicious evaluation of the subject, for I am as cutting edge and “down wid da yoof” as you are, if not more so.

However you structure them, elevator pitches are intended to force the speaker onto the presumed benefactor.

“I actually meant something completely different, something so remotely distant from the outdated concept of an “elevator pitch” that even a deaf, blind puppy with no understanding of business could spot the difference.  So I fear, Mr Marchant, it is you who are the jerk on this occasion.”

However you structure them, elevator pitches are intended to force the speaker onto the presumed benefactor.  And people, benefactors or otherwise, don’t like people forcing themselves onto them in elevators.

I’m not saying, don’t speak to presumed benefactors.  I’m saying don’t make demands before you’ve even got your foot inside their door.

On that basis, I suggest that the better—the “greater”—the elevator speech is, the more damaging it is.  Therefore, logically, what business people need is the worst possible elevator speech.  Now that would make a good title of a course.  Tempted to do it myself.

by Jeremy Marchant . © 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . image:  Free images

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