The L Words: Lift, Lobby & Latte, Part 1

Provide yourself a blueprint to communicate.  A pitch is all about communication.  In essence it is about expressing an idea, like poetry, music or painting.  Unlike the arts, the message itself is critical, not its delivery. It is the ability to communicate the idea in a concise, clear and concrete manner. To deliver a good pitch it cannot hide its message with flamboyance or explanation, but instead be direct.

A message grows from a point to its explanation.  This growth moves from the the elevator pitch (the lift), to the summary (the lobby), and the the full sit down details (the latte).  The elevator pitch itself moves from its point, to the glue, and finally the value. The value of the elevator pitch addresses a single pain point.

The Lift

Communicate: it the is the point of this message.  Think of your message as a spear: It has a very sharp point and it grows until  its main mass, the shaft, can be absorbed.  This is how a message is delivered.  It must have a single point that is one concrete concept to which all else builds off.

The Glue is the critical statement that makes the point unique.  The glue makes relevant the idea being communicated.  It is the sound bite that you want the person to remember, and the first sentence out of your month in the elevator pitch.  “I provide a blueprint to communicate.”  It might also sound like, “We are the Twitter of Databases.”  Use something well known that provides the concrete structure to explain yourself. The glue is the solution to the pain.

Don’t be cute.  “Expressing yourself in 140 character or less” is not glue, its a slogan.  Twitter can say that because they are a brand. “Just Do It”, is branding.  The glue to a Twitter pitch before anyone knew about twitter might be, “Twitter is really fast eMail”, fast being the point.  Twitter could focus on portability, but it cannot do both.  It cannot say, “Twitter is the Portable Radio of eMail.” for this expresses two value statements.  Jesus had it right, “No one can serve two masters.” Matthew 6:24

The rest of the pitch is about the pain you solve.  This is your value of your solution.  People buy to remove a pain or the fear of pain, and the value addresses this pain. The elevator pitch focuses on a single pain that makes the person buy.

A real estate agent says, “My clients are not always at the computer to get my emails and I cannot call them all.  I need to be quicker than my competition in getting new homes to me clients.” Twitter enables messages to be broadcasted to all the clients’ phones, keeping the clients connected to the new homes first via the agent.  How to get your message out quickly, Twitter.

This is why real-estate agents use Twitter.  Their pain is how to be first.  A competing product may even streamline this case even further.  But the key element to this pitch is that there needs to be a pain being solved, in this case “how do I get to my clients quickly?”  It is not the evaluator pitch’s need to explain the business model, that is a topic for the lobby.

Your elevator pitch is ready when there is a single point, glue and value.  Fast, “Twitter is really fast eMail”, “I need to be quicker than my competition”.

When the pitch is done, its time to step out of the elevator and into the Lobby.

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