The Great Elevator Pitch: Experience Doesn’t Matter

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Are you proud of your experience? Sorry to break it to you, but your experience doesn’t matter.

Shania Twain

That Don’t Impress Me Much

Oftentimes, when people start their elevator pitch, they open with “23 years of experience in R&D”, “over two decades of experience making pizza” or something similar to that.

But, your past is never as interesting as your potential, when it comes time to make your message matter.

Relying on credentials and past accomplishments is delivering yesterday’s news and hoping it still matters today. What people want to know is, “Who are you really – and, what can you do for me, now?”

The message that matters is: how your past can help others in the present.

Consider my story as a cautionary tale.

I was meeting a client for the first time.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about your coaching, Chris!” she said. “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
Hmmm… this is going to be easy (said the voice inside my head).

After all, the classic intro to an elevator pitch is, “Tell me a little bit about yourself”. It was such a softball!!

“I’m the National Elevator Pitch Champion,”
I blurted, enthusiastically. And dramatically!
(I didn’t say it, but the “Ta-da!!” was implied.)

“WOW! THat’s FanTAStic!” she replied. “But: What’s an Elevator Pitch?”

Perhaps you are wondering the same thing: What the _____ is an elevator pitch, and what does it mean to be “national elevator pitch champion”?

Well, not a lot – unless you can move from your own personal recognition to recognizing your audience.

In my experience, titles, degrees and accomplishments don’t really express a person’s true value and abilities. ¬†Mere titles aren’t enough to make a difference!

It’s important to take the time to frame the conversation. By considering your listener, you take the focus off of yourself and place it where it really matters. Humbling as it was, I realized something very important from my client: my experience isn’t as important as what I can do with, through and for others. Awards aren’t worth much, unless we turn our accomplishments into results. We all have to prove the value of our experience through our actions, not just our words.

Titles don’t matter; better to focus on results. Better to answer the question, “What can we do, together?” instead of focusing on past accolades.

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Experience doesn’t matter. Your story does. The NEW Elevator Pitch is all about what people want to know about you.


Chris Westfall The NEW Elevator PitchIf you’d like to know more about how to create a message that makes your listener say, “Tell me more…” you’re invited to check out The NEW Elevator Pitch. Get a job, get a raise, get a date or get an investor – when you harness the power of influence and persuasion. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more.

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