business pitch, sales pitch, verbal presentation, 30 second intro

For those who have not heard the term “Elevator Pitch” (for the under 40 business population this may be “new jargon”) … it meant if you get into an elevator with someone you wanted to obtain a business relationship with you had the time of traveling up (or down) to make an impression.  Sales folks/Co-workers would time their elevator trips to join the people they needed to connect with for the ride… first ride up in the morning, when they went out to lunch, or when they left for the day.

A good elevator pitch should last no longer than that elevator ride of 30-60 seconds or 75 words. It must be interesting, memorable, and succinct. It must contain or explain what makes you or your organization, product, or idea – unique.  The truth is during that elevator ride the true connection created is of personalities, a foundation during that shared ride and your future timed rides with that individual.

One origin of how the “Elevator Pitch” began is that of Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso, two former journalists active in the 1990s. According to Rosenzweig, Caruso was a senior editor at Vanity Fair and was continuously attempting to pitch story ideas to the Editor-In-Chief at the time, but could never pin her down long enough to do so simply because she was always on the move. So, to pitch her ideas, Caruso would join her during short free periods of time she had, on the elevator ride. Thus, the concept of an “elevator pitch” was created.

Advantages to conducting an elevator pitch include convenience and simplicity. For instance, elevator pitches can be given on short notice and without much preparation due to the pre-planning of the content being delivered within said pitch, making the listener more comfortable. Furthermore, elevator pitches allow the individual who is giving the pitch the ability to simplify the content and deliver it in a less complicated manner by providing the information in a cut-down fashion that gets right to the point.

In this 2021 business world the “Elevator Pitch” as morphed into what has been coined the “Meet and Greet”.   I have even heard it referred to as “Business Speed Dating” no matter how the interaction is referenced, it often is accompanied with a business card being offered or exchanged between the two parties.

Let’s take the convention center “Meet and Greet” scenario – This type of Elevator Pitch/Meet and Greet/Business Speed Dating has been around for decades – you are invited to a booth or get a punch card to visit many booths and then your full punch card is entered into a raffle for a wonderful prize.  At the booth, for as long as you will stand there a representative from that company will determine if your company is a fit to start building a foundation with.  You may be asked for your business card or on your own drop your card in their bucket or have your badge QR code scanned.  If asked for your business card by an individual or QR code scanned, be rest assured, notes about your discussion can immediately be documented for future reference.

True Business card story: I use to work for a company by the name of Medical Logistics 20+ years ago.  It was a startup, and the business cards were dark royal blue with white lettering.  The printer made an error and did the dark royal blue on both sides of the card, there was nowhere to jot down a note on the card! The male Client Acquisition Team members kept their business cards in a right top shirt pocket to easily hand them out at tradeshows – one morning it rained buckets, we all got drenched going into the convention center… the blue leaked onto their shirts! (mine were safely stored in a business card holder in my pocketbook!)

The goal of the business card or QR scan with notes is be able to continue the conversation where it was left off, “dog is Shih Tzu, kids are___” or “company has problems with name a vendor that supplies them X” the next time there is a conversation?

No matter the jargon – The Elevator Pitch/Meet and Greet/Business Speed Dating… the first step is making a connection with an individual in less than a minute… that is a skill very few people have naturally.

 Today an Elevator Pitch is to “hook” a person into truly listening… with our high population of the business world working via Zoom/Teams/Skype for Business etc. combined with being able to hide your face makes many wonders, who is listening? 

The University of Louisiana Monroe morphed to the times and held a Virtual Elevator Pitch competition in 2021 with a 1st place prize of $150?!  Stephen King has been quoted to say, “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”   

Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso would be proud to know what they did and documented still has relevance in our long distance, virtual business world.

The bottom line, “The Elevator Pitch/Meet and Greet/Business Speed Dating” – the technique builds a comfort level.  Once the comfort level has been created then an introduction to “talk business” can truly begin.  

At Corcentric, we are often introduced to provide both Procurement support and IT related subject matter expertise. In working with IT stakeholders, we strive to develop and maintain the comfort level, listen to pain points, providing resources to improve the client-supplier situation that is creating angst; This enables the building of trustworthy partnerships with our clients.  

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Tami Wankoff - Procurement Consultant

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