Posted by: Bill Griffin | September 10, 2009

An Emotional Pitch Sounds Logical.

Bill Griffin #10 Thumb  According to The Harvard Business Review when it comes to people and retention, emotion trumps logic, always has, always will. Human beings are emotional creatures. People will rely on feelings for their most memorable experiences. That is why I am amazed to hear many business introductions so uninspired. Their elevator speech comes off like I have just been cornered by Joe Friday “Just the facts sir”. No emotion, no excitement, verbatim job description  and an overly rehearsed something, something. See, I forgot what it was already.

  Here are some simple ways to get attention. Personalize the message. Evoke an emotional response from your pitch. Convey that the message comes from a trustworthy sender. How do you become a trustworthy figure in the eyes of a stranger? Persuade them, entertain them and give your audience a sense of fascination. They will listen and remember you.

   Take what is the strongest, impressive and most intriguing, and lead with that. Think of your pitch as a movie trailer. Have a sensational    attention nowheadline. “I save lives” (medical field), “I talk to the world” (telecommunications), “I see dead people” (undertaker). What ever it is you do, put it on a grand scale right at the beginning. Follow that with awards you have won. Mention a well known person that recommends you. Do you have big named clients? Throw ‘em in there. Save the minute details for the interview                                         

  Anticipate that what may be obvious to you maybe invisible to them. Do your best to know your audience. Very rarely are you pitching to a hiring manager. Use your pitch as an invite to questions. Not everything you know can be said in 30 seconds. Metaphors and slogans are great for communicating your pitch. Get creative!! Have pen and paper ready and don’t be afraid to draw a picture. You don’t even have to be Claude Monet. Having someone lean over your shoulder while you’re drawing a camera as they guess that you’re a photographer will get you remembered. Try starting your 30 second pitch with a question. This will invoke extra thought on your audience. Extra thought equals memorable. Someone asks “what do you do?” set the tone by asking your question “what would have to happen for your most agonizing business problem to be solved today?” when they answer, modify your pitch to solve that problem. You can’t control thought, but you can influence people to think in new directions. Questions remove them of their current situation.  

  Above everything else, have fun with it. Entertain yourself, it will convey.  Try to be funny. Funny will find a place in their mind even where  Portrait of business colleagues holding each other and laughingrational statements bounce off. You have 30 seconds to wow your listener. Use emotion, it beats logic every time.

What is your 30 second pitch? Was it memorable?  How has your pitch helped you? Please comment I would love to know.




  1. Bill

    I think this is your best blog so far. Very useful. Great topic. Kudos.


    • Thanks Michele,

      Very kind of you.

  2. Well-written, Billy! I agree with you on all points… for those who can “pitch well.” I have some added thoughts for catchers and fielders.

    When one thinks like a job seeker and thinks “pitch” more many it is likely just before it all goes downhill. Ditch the Pitch. It’s NOT networking, nor effective communication.

    If you want to be memorable, give a masterful pitch and you’ll be remembered as a job seeker with a “great pitch.” If you wish to be remembered for who you are, then try to be remembered as a great professional, engaging, talented and one who values thoughtful dialogue.

    That being said, engage the other party first. It’s not about you until you get to know them. Express a curiosity and interest about the one you are speaking with, not to. People like to speak about themselves. Inquire, listen, and smile. Get them talking so that you earn the opportunity to compliment on something noteworthy they’ve shared. They’ll want to know more about you in return. You’ll be in a conversation and they’ll be asking you questions. They’ll follow your lead. You’ll never be remembered as the dreaded job seeker, but as an engaging, articulate communicator. There are few of them. You’ll introduced to others readily.

    Seek to partner in a conversation. Lead with interest in the other. Ask a great question as Bill suggests.

    • True, listening is always the better policy, but when you get asked the “what do you do?” question don’t get caught of gaurd. Know your pitch.

      Good advice Greg. Thanks

  3. Great advise Bill. I wish I had read this 8 months ago when I first heard about and presented my 30 second pitch. It has constantly evolved but I believe humor does make it more memorable. I just may go into the undertaking business just to use the TAG line in your article!

    • Thanks Eileen,

      Humor, no doubt is a great tool. Be careful to know your audience. I have been known to crack the untimely joke here and there. Then forced to tap on my invisible microphone and ask curiously if it’s working. I hear crickets in the background while people are looking at me like I forgot to take my medication. I’m getting better though.

  4. Billy,

    Great blog! So true about the numerous robotic pitches you hear. If you have passion and convey it properly, everything about the pitch becomes more memorable as a result.


  5. Amen Brother Arthur. Very true, thanks.

  6. Hey Bill,

    All so true. Great Blog.

    When people are themselves and having fun everyone wants to listen, even with the occasional “cricket” moment.

    Make your elevator speech interesting, make networking about other people and all of a sudden this becomes a lot more fun and most importantly: effective.


    • Thank you Dorothy,

      Everything you said is 100% spot on. Keep up the great work your doing with tag lines. Your helping a lot of people get confidant and creative in their pitches.

  7. Bill, I’ve been reading your stuff for a while now, and have to agree with Michelle Heine: this is one of your better insights. The approach you suggest works very well.

    I have used it for years to stimulate effective and relevant dialog with existing and prospective clients alike. Helping your audience think about a “future perfect” situation helps detach them from the mental and emotional “baggage” they bring into the meeting, helps them focus on the things that really matter to them, and get them to articulate those critical one or two burning platform issues and/or opportunities that highlight their greatest needs.

    The next thing to do, of course, is to play to those needs and customize your pitch around how you will help them with those.

    Well done!

    Anthony W. Perrone
    Sustainable Profitability: for Good

    • Thank you Anthony,

      Well done in your approach to explaining what you do and who you are. Your right, the largest obstacle for people are themselves, and a simple question could help them get out of their own way.

  8. Hi Bill,

    Love your site. Great ideas on creating a true marketing spin for your introductions.


  9. Thank you Cathy,

    The botton line is, enthusiasm is contagious.

  10. Hey Bill,
    Excellant article. Although we keep being told to polish an elevator speech, it is very difficult to create one that doesn’t jam the elevator car in the shaft. I believe in humor, and your turning the “what do you do” question with a question is brilliant. And you gave me an idea: “Since researchers have proven computer details cause Narcolepsy in managers, you need me for health reasons” or something like that…Thank you, well done, genuine (which is often missing) and helpful! God Bless

    • Thanks Gene,

      However you leave your speech keep the word narcolepsy in it. I love it. It sounds nothing like its meaning and has a hard “K” sound on it. That’s comedy writing, it’s that simple.

      The best of luck to you Gene, thanks for sharing.

  11. Bill –

    Just discovered your site through Hannah Morgan, CareerSherpa. Love this post! I’ve always hated elevator speeches because they (mine) feel deadly boring (and if I’m not interested, who else will be), too self-promotional and don’t begin to cover what I do. You’ve given me great inspiration to infuse my creativity into the message. Many thanks!

    • Thanks Carol,

      Happy to have you on board. Silly isn’t it, how hard it is describe ourselves compared to describing others. I tell people, myself included, it’s not an ego trip to speak highly and effectivley about yourself as long as it’s true. If people want to know, give them your best pich, it’s better for everyone involved.

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