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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 Layman's Terms"...

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 color.

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 by melanin.

Other processes, 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 effective job 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.

The Elevator Pitch and the Message Map

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 something like 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 Solution.

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.

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