“From the minute the first elevator zoomed up in 1853, people have been polishing their elevator pitches. The idea was that if the big prospect ever strode into your elevator, you’d be able to smoothly explain your organization and your role there by the time you reached your floor.”
But that traditional elevator pitch is dead! Here’s why, and how to persuade people to give, volunteer and support your cause today:
1) Today, we work constantly to move people, not just the prospect and not just in the elevator.
We’re working to persuade fans, colleagues, our children and friends—who are all overwhelmed by media and messages—all the time. It’s a tough sell.
2) Your conversational partner—or child, program participant, colleague or board member—doesn’t care what you want. She cares mainly about her own needs, wants, passions, habits and dreams, and those of her near and dear.
It’s not selfish, it’s human. We have to filter somehow.
If your pitch relates, great. If not, nada. And the only way to find that match—if there is one—is to a) get attention, b) learn about what’s important to your partner.
Changing old habits is hard, but author Daniel Pink outlines some good first steps. Working from social science research and best practices from around the world, Pink has compiled six successors to the elevator pitch in his wonderful new guide to effective persuasion, To Sell Is Human.
Digest these three today (and read the three I already shared with you here), then start practicing these six techniques to move people to do what you need them to do… From Dan:
4. The Subject-Line Pitch
- What: Every email we send has its own pitch, we call it the subject line. Subject Line pitches should be specific and useful, but also create curiosity.
- Example: A mushy subject line like improve your golf swing achieves less than one offering 4 tips to improve your golf swing this afternoon.”
- Why It Works: This pitch is either immediately and obviously useful, mysteriously intriguing or ultra-specific on time/place/value, just like your email subject lines (should be).
5. The Twitter Pitch
- What: Say it in 140 characters or less. For added power, distill a question, rhyming or subject-line pitch down to 140 characters.
- Example: University of Iowa Tippie College of Business used a 140-character contest to award a scholarship package. Here’s the winner, a haiku: Globally minded/Innovative and drive/Tippie can sharpen.
- Why It Works: This approach forces you to summarize your org’s impact and ask simply and concisely. It also encourages people to take the next step— to click a link, to share the Tweet, to respond.
6. The Pixar Pitch
- What: Every Pixar film has a compelling story and every story follows the same formula: “Once upon a time _____. Every day, _____. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Then, ___. Until finally ___.”
-Why It Works: This strategy lets you share a challenge or need as a story, which is extremely powerful. The six-sentence format is appealing and supple, you share stories within a concise, disciplined format.
- Bonus: Here are 22 story rules from a former Pixar story artist.
Try these pitches out, and let me know how it goes.
Please share your thoughts, and your experiences, here.
More Guidance to Strengthen Your New Pitch
Part One: New Pitches 1-3
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