Half-a-minute waltz


It’s called an elevator pitch, and I’m working on mine right now.

If someone asked you what you do or what you wanted to do, what would you tell them? You have 30 seconds, enough time for a short elevator ride.

You’re on.


I haven’t thought about my elevator pitch in awhile, but it needs a polish. Most people don’t think about it too often, unless they’re looking for venture capital and investors, or they’re going on job interviews.

Usually, I can think on my feet. But an elevator pitch is different: You’re performing on demand — as showman, salesman and entrepreneur.

Sales isn’t my thing. And self-promotion is a big no-no.

I’ll get over it, eventually.

But can you dream big in 30 seconds? Are you an undiscovered actor working as a bookkeeper, or an undiscovered bookkeeper working as an actor? Can you pitch your idea for a novel or a gadget in such a short time?

Maybe that should be my next role: entrepreneurial consultant. I hone your grandiose schemes into a handful of dynamic sentences. You tell me your thing, I tell you your market. You tell me your advantage, I tell you your angle.

During the past year, I’ve heard a lot of pitches. I know which ones will fail, not from lack of funding or ingenuity, but lack of willpower. If you can’t see it through, it’s already dead.

But I am genuinely interested in what you have to say, even if I’m not buying. As for my own pitch, what I lack in initial smoothness, I make up for in persistence. I can get laughed out of the room a hundred times, but I’ll keep throwing it out there when I know it’s a winner.

My boss used to say that there were no bad ideas, just ideas that weren’t ready to be implemented. That’s usually correct — though I have heard a few stinkers, but what do I know?

Ideas are a dime a dozen, but first they need to be verbalized clearly, compellingly and quickly.

The pitch is back.


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