Ditch your elevator pitch. Do this instead…

Episode #257

Does crafting an elevator pitch cause you or your board members stress?

If so, you are not alone.

In this week’s episode, Erica Mills gives you the remedy.  It’s simple, stress free, and makes it so that you will never have to make another elevator pitch.

Erica, by the way, will be presenting at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference.

The conference starts this Thursday (Nov 6th).  Get a ticket or get the videos from the conference.  Click here.

If you have any stories or advice crafting your organization’s pitch, please share it with everyone else. Leave a comment under the video.  Thanks.

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  1. Christopher Davenport says

    If you have any stories or advice crafting your organization’s pitch, please share it with everyone else. Please leave a comment. Thanks. :)

  2. Darlene says

    Very good advice! My organization is brand new so the “Know” phase is huge and we spend most of the time there and moving into the “Understand” aspect. For six months we have been avoiding the “Engage” phase but are now moving into it. Thank you for breaking it down like this. It helps!
    Any advice of how to put together a public Launch?

    • says

      Good job staying with ‘know’ and ‘understand’ in the early stages, Darlene! One of the most common mistakes is rushing people to engage before they really understand what you’re all about. For the public launch, ask yourselves: 1) WHAT does success look like? Then ask 2) WHO you need to reach to successfully achieve #1. Then (and only then!) look at HOW you will reach the people identified in #2. By going in this order, you avoid coming up with something that’s “all things to all people” rather than something that’s optimized for your most important audiences. Hope that helps!

  3. Sharon Evans says

    I belong to a Women in Business group that meets monthly for lunch. We try and sit with new people to network. Once we have gone through the buffet, we each get (timed carefully) 1 minute to tell our tablemates about us. 60 seconds go by really quickly so my advice is be ready and practice what you want to say about yourself and your organization at a particular time. E.g. if we are getting ready for an event I make sure to invite participation.

  4. says

    I like how Erica breaks this down into parts. Because it’s true that sometimes trying to get everything into the “pitch” you believe should be there makes you think you have to give a speech! The place I like to begin is with my own passion, and this is what I tell board members to do as well. Briefly describe your role and why the mission is important to you personally. Share what you love. Perhaps say something unexpected. Think of what might capture someone’s attention. Make it memorable. GUSH. Then, if they seem interested, you can take it to the next step.

    • says

      The headline of this post is a bit misleading though certainly attention grabbing. The post is not so much about “ditching” the elevator speech as it is about coming up with the correct one(s). I really appreciate Claire’s comment as it reflects my own experience. When representing charities, I find that nothing engages other folks quite as much as sharing my own passion for the organization AND revealing an expected fact that will almost certainly surprise or otherwise draw-in the other person.

      When coaching board members, I’ve found it much easier to convince them to “share their passion” than make a “pitch” or “speech.” Ultimately, it works out better for the board members AND the folks they talk with.

  5. Rob Lavery says

    I like the staged approach to the pitch as it infers some reaction from the listener. The big problem with elevator pitches is that they aren’t 2 way conversations, it’s just a board member blurting out a rehearsed speech without regard for the listener. I like the idea of checking in with the listener – is this something you’d like to learn more about – before going onto the next phase of the pitch.


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