- August 29, 2013
Use the fattest-tipped magic marker you can find to write – no, draw – your elevator pitch
Early in my career, first week on the job, my supervisor handed me a crisp sheet of white paper still warm from the laser printer. With a beaming smile: “We just finished our new company mission statement!” After a quick read the words that innocently spilled out of me were, “Wait, what do we do?” Quick and thorough like a dagger through the heart, I’d exposed the results of writing by committee and ending up with strung together jargon that satisfies the wishes of constituencies instead of telling a compelling story to the outside world.
The horror and disappointment I saw on his face rushed back to haunt me when we at TechTarget realized the need to update our elevator pitch.
Our goals were what we as communicators strive for but often lose sight of during the process: keep it succinct and keep to high-level benefits of interest to our customers. We wanted to allow for everyone to tell the story in their own, more natural words to avoid the clumsiness of them performing as ventriloquist dummies on the company’s lap. Oh, another important goal: avoid daggers.
To keep our focus, we approached it visually first. How could we describe and differentiate TechTarget using only a few visuals, and then use those visuals as the discipline to only elaborate on what those visuals expressed. Instead of composing linear prose we developed talking points that correspond with each visual, so anyone could tell the story in their own words, and start and finish the story in the order that best suited the audience and the comfort level of the storyteller.
A bonus is that the visuals make for an impactful slide to start off a presentation:
How have you approached developing your company’s elevator pitch?