The Candidate and the Elevator Pitch

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In the Republican Presidential debate this weekend, each candidate delivered one elevator pitch after another. Some answers were great; some were gone in 60 seconds.

Each question in the debate demands a one minute response, like an elevator speech.  Each candidate must give  a short persuasive answer designed to engage voters and eliminate the competition. At this stage, our electoral process hinges on the power of the elevator speech.

Setting politics aside (and I’ll leave it to you to take sides), let’s consider some of the key elements from the format of the Republican Presidential debate.

The debate format forces each candidate to provide an impossibly brief response to questions that are layered and complex, such as, “Tell us more about your ideas about a federalized healthcare system”, or “How does marital fidelity serve as an indication of leadership?”

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“Tell me a little bit about yourself” is always a loaded question.

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The answers to these and many other questions asked by George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer seem to defy a brief answer.  Within this constructed framework, each candidate had to make points, spar with opponents, and woo the voters – in less than 60 seconds.

Let me share with you some key elements from the NEW elevator pitch, that may help you to evaluate the current crop of Republican candidates (as well as our current President) in the coming months.

  • Authenticity: Who was the most “real” for you in the debate, and why?  What are the elements of authenticity, and who created a real and sincere connection with you in the debate?
  • Delivery:  What happens when a candidate uses “uhh” and “um”?  Does it inspire confidence, or mistrust, or confusion?
  • Relevance:  Words and gestures can be powerful things, but which candidate is most in tune with what America needs, right now?  Who do you believe has both the plan and the power to make the changes that this country needs – whatever you believe those changes might be? That’s the power of relevance.

The elevator pitch is the hardest speech you could ever master – and the most powerful.

For our political process, the elevator speech plays an important part.  In your career, your personal life and your community, the ability to inspire in a powerful and concise way is a lost art.  When you give your elevator pitch, do people veto your ideas? Or do you gain support on both sides of the aisle?   Whoever comes out on top in 2012 will need to be able to boil down an issue into its essence, and convincingly communicate that they know what matters.


If you struggle with saying “um” and “uhh”, you may want to join me for my upcoming webinar on Wednesday, December 14th.

The details on the webinar are one click away, and you’re invited to stop by.  There’s no political agenda, just a commitment to help you to tell your story in the most powerful way possible.  You don’t have to wait for November to improve your situation, by developing a compelling message around the brand called “YOU”.

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, used under creative commons license.  Some rights reserved.

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