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Elevator Pitch


You’re at a music conference and you get in the elevator with a major producer you’ve been hoping to get to come to your gig. What do you say???? You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression.

Get to the point. Unless you’re in an elevator stuck between floors and you’re waiting for the maintenance crew.

Have a short and a long version. 1 sentence, 5 sentences, long version for at a restaurant.

Use words that are powerful and strong.

Use words that create a visual image in your listeners mind. This will make your message memorable.

What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance do you want to: get them to come to your gig? sign you to their label? invest in your CD? sell them a CD?

The Hook. This is what that literally snags your listener’s interest and makes them want to know more. This is the phrase or words that strike a chord in your listener.

Write down what you do. Try writing it at least 10-20 different ways. Don’t edit yourself at all. You will edit later. This first step is for generating ideas. Don’t hold back. Ideas can be goofy, serious, wild, funny, or conservative. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to get at many ideas as possible down on paper.

Write a very short story that illustrates what you do for people. If necessary, the story can be long. You will boil it down later. Paint a picture with words.

Write down your objective or goal.

Record yourself. You’ll be shocked by how stupid you sound when you’re not prepared.

Let it sit. Come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears the next day or later on in the same day.

Highlight the good stuff. Listen and read through what you’ve recorded and written. Then either highlight or circle the phrases that hook you with clear, powerful, and visual words. Obviously not all the words will fall into these categories. You still need connector words, but you want them to be as few as possible.

Be sure your words are full of confidence. Avoid words like “I hope” or “I think” or “you should.” Use active verbs.

Avoid cliches and other empty phrases like “we really rock”.

Be ready to compare yourself to other performers. Don’t say we don’t sound like anyone else, we are totally original. I like to define myself with “mixed with”, such as “Joan Jett mixed with Bob Dylan”.

Don’t go into the story of how you were formed or your history unless it’s super interesting or significant. For example, if you know the person you’re pitching to is into animal rescue and your band got it’s first gig at a charity event for animal rescue, you might mention that. Or, if you played at Carnegie Hall, that might be worth mentioning.

So, know your audience and choose specific information that is important for them to know in your 30 seconds.

You might not even get to the why and the how. It might be for a later conversation.

Put the best pieces together. Again you’ll want to write down several versions of this much tighter pitch.

Do a final edit cutting as many unnecessary words as possible. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Again, the goal is 30-60 seconds maximum.

Dress Rehearsal. Run it by as many people as you can get to listen to you. Get feedback from colleagues, clients you trust, friends and family.

Avoid uhs and umms. Look them straight in the eye.

Get in an elevator with a friend and see just how it works in a real world setting.

Take your final version and write it down on an index card or in your PDA. Memorize and practice it until it just slides off your tongue naturally.

Be on the listen for phrases that you think could make your elevator pitch better and tweak it as you go.

The same pitch should be in your promo materials as well.

Prepare to answer questions with quick answers.

One last tip – don’t hit all the floor buttons just to give yourself more time.

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