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What’s Your 15-Second Pitch?

Cut your elevator pitch in half.

The standard "elevator pitch" is too long for shrinking attention spans and fast networking events.

The “Elevator Pitch” has long been the standard of persuasion. The adage held that you had only as much time as the average elevator ride (30 to 60 seconds) to convince your audience of your argument.

Job seekers, entrepreneurs, salesmen, lobbyists, even speed daters, practiced pared-down versions of their plea so that no word was wasted. If you couldn’t close the deal in the “elevator ride,” you lost your patron’s attention and risked losing the deal.

Prepare to cut your elevator pitch in half or more, said Laura Allen, a former marketing and advertising executive turned career coach. Americans’ ever-shrinking attention span has cut the time you have to make your pitch down to about 15 seconds she claims. That means you have about 100 or so words. Make them count.

The elevator pitch might work in an interview, but it is too long for networking events and won’t leave a memorable impression.

Allen’s company,, coaches job seekers and entrepreneurs on networking and pitching yourself and/or your product. Visitors to the site can also use the free PitchWizard to build their own 15-second pitch and order business cards with the pitch that let you literally hand-deliver your pitch to the audience.

NY1’s Asa Aarons profiled Allen and this morning on the NY1 Employment report.

The 15-second pitch:

  • My name is:
  • I am a(n):
  • specializing in:
  • What you do:
  • Why you’re the best:
  • Your call to action:

Cutting your message down to 15 seconds that could fit on a business card has some extraneous consequences:

  1. You’ve created a consistent message you can deliver by phone, e-mail, in-person, on a card or (think 140 -character limit) a Twitter or facebook post.
  2. It will focus your thinking about your career.

Professional resume writers will usually demand that a client create a single summary that captures what they do and what they want to do. Resume writers say clients will often be reluctant at first, not wanting to eliminate possible opportunities, but report the narrow summary helped them focus their job search. Some have even reported writing a focused summary helped them discover there career goals they didn’t recognize or that they had been performing a job very different from their title.

if you can say it in 15 seconds, you might hear something you didn’t know was there.

(Job Fair Elevator Pitch by ewuphoto, CC3.0)

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One comment for “What’s Your 15-Second Pitch?”

  1. [...] coach Laura Allen has parlayed the concept of the 15-second pitch into its own company. helps job seekers and entrepreneurs get down to brass tacks [...]

    Posted by Speed up That Elevator Pitch - CBS | March 22, 2010, 1:36 pm

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