Going up…Who are you? What do you do? And, most importantly, why do you do it?
These are huge questions, ones that most people would stumble over. But what if you only have one minute to wrap all of that together? What if you get into an elevator and somebody hits you with these questions? Are you prepared? It’s cool, we weren’t either…
Whether you are a blogger, teacher, or scientist, you’ve got something that other people want. Think of an elevator pitch as a commercial for yourself. You’re putting together the best content you have for your company or personal brand in a super easy to consume, raw, realistic, and inspiring way. After this pitch, your audience should leave the conversation with a complete understanding of what you have to offer.
Our First Pitch
One minute. That’s how long we were given the first time we pitched. One minute can feel like an eternity when you’re not prepared.
A few professionals in Worcester (WUS-ster) wanted to hear our elevator pitch at a dinner we were attending. They didn’t have time to look at our business plan, which is probably a good thing because we didn’t have one. We thought this would be easy. We live The Hum every day and we just had to talk about it for 60 seconds. Yeah…we were wrong.
Our first mistake? We sounded like a bunch of monkeys reciting words we had been programmed to say on cue. Our brand is built on unfiltered, no-BS, energetic content and we sounded like robots. We hadn’t practiced nearly enough, and there was nothing genuine about the words coming out of our mouths. Considering that this was supposed to be our passion, we didn’t sound confident, and I’m sure we sounded as crazy as this guy.
Our efforts on The Hum were pointless if we weren’t able to communicate them. We didn’t even know what type of company we were. Someone else had to tell us we were a digital media company.
In Episode 1 of The Startup Podcast (seriously, find 28 minutes to spend listening to this over the weekend), Chris Sacca listens to Gimlet Media founder, Alex Blumberg, fall flat on his face trying to pitch his idea. After consuming Blumberg’s babblings for long enough, Sacca cuts Blumberg off and delivers Blumberg’s pitch back to him they way it should have sounded. The difference? Sacca oozed confidence. There was no bullshit, no “um’s”, no guesses, just numbers, facts, plans, data, data, and more data. I wish we listened to this before we went to that dinner.
So, what did we learn?
The feedback from our first round of elevator pitches was a mixed bag, to say the least. We’ll start with one area we did well, the why. Taking a page directly from our man Simon Sinek, we talked about why we founded The Hum. People dig the why, and because of the way The Hum functions — basically at the edge of our seats every damn day — we constantly remind ourselves why we are doing this.
There was a lot more bad than good. Lack of consistency, lack of data, general confusion over wtf we were even doing, no goals or milestones, and little knowledge of our competitors.
What sucks the most? Looking back at this now, we knew most of that information. We had just never figured out how to articulate it all when it counted.
Out of all of the things that we learned, our biggest piece of advice is to create a sense an overwhelming sense of FOMO. Know your strengths. Your data. Your vision. And make your listener — advisor, customer, investor, or otherwise — feel that if they don’t hop on this train right now they are going to regret the hell out of it.
Why should you care?
No matter what you do, you should always be ready to sell. Are you a badass coder? You never know when an entrepreneur might be looking for a CTO. Do you own a nice DSLR? You never know when someone might be looking for some headshots. Are you a crazy good writer? You never know when someone might be looking for your talents. Actually, I do know of a time. Right now. We need someone. Hit us up.
You’ve been building your brand your entire life. Be ready to talk about it, even when you’ve only got one minute.