I have been seeing a few articles lately about how to craft an elevator pitch (or whether to even have one). The latest one I have seen was today’s blog post from BurellesLuce: “Creating a Successful Elevator Pitch.” Although Lauren Shapiro does a good job of summarizing Robert Pagliarini’s article (have a hook, be concise and passionate and have a call to action) about the same subject on MoneyWatch.com, she misses what I consider THE key.
Although Merriam-Webster is not helpful with its definition (“the quality or state of being clear; lucidity”), we instinctively understand that clarity is something we recognize rather than explain. If something is clear, we “see” it, we “get” it. If something is not clear, it is opaque, it can’t be understood.
Yes, clarity is the key to any successful pitch, be it an elevator pitch or a media pitch. If you don’t say exactly what you mean so that the other party understands, you are not communicating.
In a previous post, I spoke about a woman who gave an elevator pitch that went nowhere. She wasn’t being clear. She could not distill her message and therefore she was confusing us.
Pitches are not about being clever or even about explaining everything there is to know about something–they are about communicating one central point clearly.
You should be answering the key question the entity you are pitching has:
- Why should I do business with you?
- Why should my publication run your story?
- Why should my product be advertising on your channel?
If you can’t give a clear answer to the question you can be as clever and pithy as you like and still not communicate.