Where Does the Elevator Pitch Come From?

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Origins of the Elevator Pitch

– Where did this idea of a short, persuasive speech come from? Who thought of the elevator speech, anyway?

An excerpt from The NEW Elevator Pitch by Chris Westfall

The original “elevator pitch” comes from the studio days of Hollywood, when a screenwriter would (supposedly) catch an unsuspecting executive on an elevator ride.  There, with his prey trapped within the confines of the elevator, the screenwriter would ‘pitch’ an idea to the decision-maker, in 30, 60, or even 118 seconds.

How realistic do you think it would be that an executive would say “yes” to a screenplay, in an elevator – even if the pitch were as simple as Snakes on a Plane?

The urban legend of the elevator pitch was born.

Times have changed since the studio days of Hollywood. Changed. A. Lot.

Nobody’s waiting for the elevator anymore. And the elevator platform? It’s been replaced with the social platform.

“Why would I talk to a TV executive at this point, and ask them what they think? If I have this idea for a TV show, I can just put it up on the Internet.”

Jerry Seinfeld

The idea of the “elevator pitch” – a short, persuasive speech designed to sell something in the length of an elevator ride – is out of date.  In fact, if you’re thinking of “pitching” anything, you’re making a mistake.  The NEW Elevator Pitch isn’t a pitch at all.

The Update

No matter what your chosen profession, you have to convince others to follow your ideas.  You have to influence the folks you work with, live with, and care about.  You have to get others engaged in what you are saying.  Engagement is not a “pitch” – it’s influence.   Engagement is a connection.  Engagement can start via online tools and social media but it really comes home when you deliver your message in person.

Jeffrey Hayzlett understands the importance of engagement, and the ‘118’ pitch is the updated version.  After all, why just “give a speech”… when you can deliver a message?

The old elevator pitch is a relic from a bygone era.  The idea of speechifying someone into submission, or into a buying decision, is about as relevant as a buggy whip.  The NEW Elevator Pitch is still persuasive, still brief, and still compelling – but designed for the way we speak, engage and interact today.  The NEW Elevator Pitch is a fresh and modern message that focuses on you – your story, your desires and your style.   Most importantly, the NEW Elevator Pitch is about creating action – the kind of outcomes you want from the people you need.

Breakthroughs happen when you know how to make what matters, matter.  If you’re ready to be heard, you’re ready for the NEW Elevator Pitch.

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Chris Westfall Business Coach