When you write a book, it's never really done.
Things always come to you after you finish the book and send it
off to the printer. This blog, and my
essays about the elevator pitch,
are where I will collect those thoughts until it's time to put
together a revised version of Elevator Pitch Essentials.
Clarence Thomas and Ten-Dollar Words
February 20, 2013
Here's an interesting, and
relevant, piece on
Clarence Thomas and his opinion of ten-dollar words.
In Layman's Terms?
The other day I was on Wikipedia looking at the entry on
Melanoma. I came across a portion of the entry labeled, "In
One pathway by which melanoma may happen is when a UV
photon strikes a chromophore in a skin cell.
A chromophore is the part of a molecule which gives it
When the chromophore is
struck by the UV photon, a singlet oxygen (1O2) or hydroxyl
(•OH) free radical is produced, which can mutate DNA by
oxidising it. If the DNA damage occurs in a melanocyte, the
melanocyte may begin to divide in a unregulated manner,
producing a malignant tumor which is coloured brown to black
such as errors in DNA replication, can also produce
cancer-causing mutations. As a result, not all melanomas
occur in sun-exposed body parts.
Tanning beds cause melanoma because the UV is so
concentrated on the skin.
Of course, the paragraph above is written in anything but
layman's terms. That in turn got me thinking about why it's so
hard to write an elevator pitch. To be a successful innovator,
you have to be an expert, but to be an expert you have to amass
tremendous amounts of specialized knowledge. While some people
love to impress people with their knowledge, others simply are
incapable of reverting back to their non-expert days.
The Job Seeker Elevator Pitch
I just completed an essay that explains the makings of an
seeker elevator pitch.
EPE Mentioned at FT.com
Elevator Pitch Essentials was mentioned the other day over at
FT.com (FinancialTimes.com) in a piece by Mike Southon entitled
Floored by an Elevator Pitch.
EPE Now Available as an eBook (PDF Format)
In order to make it easier for my international readers to
buy Elevator Pitch Essentials, I have just added an option
to the buy page that allows you buy it
in PDF format for a reduced price of $9.95.
The Evolution of the EPE Elevator Pitch
As I explain in Elevator Pitch Essentials, the Summary
Sentence is the most critical part of an elevator pitch. As a
result, I just put together an essay that explains the logic
behind the evolution
of the Elevator Pitch Essentials summary sentence.
WSJ on Nonverbal Communication
A friend recently sent me a link to an article on the Wall
Street Journal entitled
The Power of Nonverbal Communication. This is an important
topic because an effective elevator pitch is made up of both
what you say and how you say it, as this quote makes clear...
The experiment that I like the best is one where we
looked at people who were pitching business plans. These were midcareer
executives who were presenting real business plans for a business-plan
competition and then rating each other. It turns out you can estimate
their ratings of each other...just by listening to their tone of voice.
You didn't have to know anything about the business plan; you didn't
have to know anything about the executives. It was how they delivered
the plan that determined how it was rated. That's pretty amazing. Because
these were not fools. These were executives in their mid-30s -- very
successful. And yet they were listening to how excited the presenter was
about the plan; they were not listening to the facts.
A couple of weeks ago I spent the morning with the leadership
team of a school. The reason that I was brought in was because
at some point prior to that meeting they had brought in a
marketing consultant who had helped them develop a Message Map that looked
this Message Map. The problem was that their Message Map
contained a hundred or so unique message points, and the
executive director and the director of development of the school
were struggling to incorporate all of those one hundred message
points into a two-minute elevator pitch.
As I told the leadership team, while a Message Map can
be a great tool, there is no way that you can cram all of the
contents of it into a two-minute (or less) elevator pitch.
There isn't time.
Instead, all you can do is identify the 2 or 3 most
critical messages and focus on hammering those home. Generally,
those 2 or 3 most critical messages have to do with WHAT you
are, WHY you exist, and WHORU to do what you are doing. If you
do your job of establishing those core points, and you are
speaking to the right audience, then you will be given the
chance to give a more detailed presentation, at which point you
will have the opportunity to get into the details of your
The Religious Elevator Pitch
Today I received a call from the pastor of a Lutheran church
in Minnesota who was interested in using an excerpt from my
Elevator Pitch 101
essay in a hand-out that he was preparing for one of his
sermons. He thought the ideas I discuss in my essay could help
the members of his congregation come up with personal elevator
pitches that would help them explain their faith to others, but
do so in a low-pressure, soft-sell manner.
This is a totally unexpected, but completely logical,
application of the concept of the elevator pitch. At the end of
the day, a person who is evangelizing their faith is selling
something to their audience, and the same rules apply in that
scenario as much as they do in any other sales scenario.