A Modest Proposal: Screw the Elevator Pitch!

This is just the place to have a fruitful conversation. What's your elevator pitch?

Yeah yeah, we know already. It's that ten-word summation of Who You Are and What You Do and What Makes You So Amazingly In-Demand that any smart savvy successful professional or entrepreneur has got to nail.

Well screw that, I say. And here's why. And I do have an alternate solution.

First off, I do understand the value of  being able to articulate who you are and what you do in a short pithy statement. I see how it's especially anchoring for the individual saying it.

But here's my objection -- and I say this as someone who has struggled with my e-pitch in the past and has finally decided to do it my way in this phase of my biz development.

Change Starts Here Get us out of the elevator!

For starters, I hate being in an elevator. Don't you? I don't care for talking in an elevator and the idea of having to have an "elevator pitch" in which I sell myself to someone on the other side of fast-closing doors puts me in a state of anxiety. And who needs that for chrissakes. Plus, it's de-humanizing, and this is a kind, generous humanizing phase of business we're entering.

Also, I'm not in an elevator very often. And I've never ever gotten a job in an elevator. And people in elevators are usually too busy ignoring each other to care what anyone does.  

So screw the elevator.  Or, in the line from Diva which I actually blogged about earlier, "Je n'aime pas l'ascenseur." And double-screw the pitch. Why can't we just be ourselves instead of being in a desperate state of selling ourselves. How about a short-short story rather than a pithy bullshit pitch?

What's Your Party Line? So I decided to move away from the elevator and into a party setting. And when I say Party, I'm talking about the places that are comfortable for you, where you actually enjoy going and talking with people: a party, a dinner or any social gathering. In my case it would be places like the swimming pool or out on a trail run, in a cafe, aka my satellite office.

Why Not Give Yourself More Time to Talk About Yourself? I don't know why any of us has to say what we do in five seconds and less. Who made this rule up?

I know this is good for networking events where people hand out their biz cards like they're speed dating. Or if you need to get the question answered asap. But not all of us spend a lot of time at networking events. And even if you do, if someone can't give you a minute to listen to who you are and what you do, well -- maybe it's time to move on and find the person who does.

Another adendum: My Party Line gets to change. Because my moods change and even though what I do (writing, coaching, editing, consulting, figuring-out-what-the-hell-I'm doing) remains the same, the area I am focused on changes.

So part of the dynamic of my Party Line is that it gets to change. Especially depending on who asks.

So, here's my Modest Party Line Proposal in a nutshell:

Get off the elevator and into a natural setting, call it a party, and talk about what you do in the language and pacing that works for you. Among people you are inspired by (and it's mutual) and who you'd  be interested in getting to know better or work with or network with.

Party Lines in Motion

Try on various Party Lines while you're forming Who You Are or What You Do. Not everything has to get hammered out in a business plan or a journal. For example, my answer can range from "I'm a writer and coach" to "I'm in transition right now" to ignoring the question, depending on my mood and the asker.

Admittedly, sometimes it does help to have an answer when people ask the casual but sometimes dreaded "What are you up to?"

Which brings me to a future post -- giving yourself permission not to answer the question.

In closing: I am not sold on the term "Party Line" -- but you get where I'm going with this here. If you have any better idea of how to rephrase the elevator pitch and put it in a more relaxed, inspiring setting, drop it in comments.

So. What's your cool-ass party line?