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Needham, MA 02492




It’s Saturday night and almost impossible to ignore the drumming cacophony from the dining hall stage as I hustle through signing 80 leadership certificates.

Every May I run a leadership weekend for 80 high school juniors.

Saturday night is leadership skit night.

While the teams rehearse I find a quiet corner to finish my paperwork.


This year, I choose the worst location.

In the same room as the drummers.

They never discussed ideas.

They never talked.

They never did anything.

Except drum.

For over an hour.

I hoped they wouldn’t embarrass themselves in the performance.

They didn’t.

In fact, they were the best.

By far.

Their theme was “teamwork.”

In their skit, the facilitator told them to clean up.

Everyone grabbed a piece of trash.

And together they made music.

Good music.

Fun music.

Then threw their “instruments” into the trash can.


It’s brilliant.

No words.

Very compelling.

I’m still blown away.

And it gets me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.

Because practice is messy.



Until you attend a networking event.

And the leads come flying in.


So here are 3 tips to practice your pitch:

1. Out Loud

Say your Elevator Pitch out loud.

10 times in a row.

You’ll run aground.

You’ll say something you never meant to say.

You’ll talk yourself into a corner.

That’s why we call it practice.

And saying it out loud highlights the rough edges.

So you can smooth them out.

How many times do you say your Elevator Pitch out loud before a networking event?

2. Avoid Mirrors

You’ll never watch yourself while you give your Elevator Pitch.

And it’s confusing to practice differently than you’ll present.

So set up chairs in a circle.

Or address your dining room table.

Present to a room.

Just like you will at the networking event.

How can you practice most like you’ll pitch?

3. Get an Audience

Not your spouse or partner or friend.

They aren’t prospects.

And they are too close to provide useful feedback.

So what’s a good audience?


Did you ever notice that you easily critique other people’s Elevator Pitches?

The only reason you can’t do that for yourself.

Is that you can’t present and listen to yourself at the same time.

Spend $15 at Radio Shack.

Buy a digital voice recorder.

Speak your Elevator Pitch out loud into the recorder.

Then listen to it.

Notice what grabs your attention.

And what doesn’t.

And keep working on it until you’re excited to listen to the whole thing.

Because if you’re not excited about your pitch.

Your prospects won’t be either.

How well does your Elevator Pitch grab your attention?

Happy Networking!

2 comments on “Noise

    1. Jim: Thanks for all your hard work making the program come together. I’m willing to give that group many things, though I don’t think they’ll be needing the amplification…

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