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An Elevator Pitch that Scared People Off

I log on to Zoom and instantly wish I’d picked a different session.

Except… I hadn’t picked this session.

My daughter had.

And she’s sitting right next to me eager for the virtual back to school program with her English teacher.

The teacher announces we we’ll be doing “grammar” for the next 30 minutes, and I can hear the groans through the muted audio from the six boxes on the screen. I write for a living, so I’m not afraid of grammar, but it seemed an odd showcase for a middle school English curriculum.

I’m not proud to admit that I start doing mental gymnastics on how to politely extract myself (and my daughter) from this torture. It’s difficult to quietly vanish when there are only six other attendees. I glance at my daughter and realize that she shows no signs of distress. Quite the contrary – she’s looking calmly and expectantly at the screen. Maybe she knows something I don’t…

And it gets me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.

Because my daughter knew what she was doing.

This wasn’t like any grammar class in my middle school.

We filled out a MadLibs.

We competed with other families in a rousing game of Time to Climb

We made up stories as a group, half a sentence at a time.

It was fun and funny and engaging.

But the English teacher pitched it all wrong.  

So wrong, in fact, that she scared off most of my daughter’s friends (no wonder there were only 7 attendees). The other kids chose different sessions, but when they heard our agenda several wished they had joined ours instead.

So I certainly hope that you have someone like my daughter championing for you the way she did for her English teacher. She knew the teacher so she ignored the pitch.

But most people won’t.

In most cases, all they have is the pitch.

So… make it a good one!

Are you lecturing on grammar…

Or are you offering MadLibs, mountain climbing, and made up stories.

Want to know if your pitch is welcoming or off-putting?

Here are a bunch of before-and-after examples.

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