business | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

Beyond The “Elevator Pitch”

We hear a lot in business literature about how it’s important to have an “elevator pitch” — a prepared speech about our business that’s so concise we could deliver it to someone on a brief elevator ride.  We’re often told to memorize our elevator pitch and practice it in the mirror, making sure we look and sound appealing and confident.

This may sound great in theory, but in my experience, when someone delivers an elevator pitch to me, it’s pretty obvious and painful.

Often, I’ll be at a party or event, having an otherwise pleasant conversation with someone.  But then we’ll get into talking about their business, and they’ll suddenly undergo an unnerving transformation — their posture will get rigidly straight, they’ll slap on a forced grin, and they may even start speaking in rhyme (“I turn your reads into leads”), as they recite their rehearsed speech.

When someone starts talking this way, it doesn’t exactly inspire me to buy what they’re selling — instead, whatever pleasure I was getting from our conversation quickly evaporates, and I want to excuse myself for more hors d’oeuvres.

“Elevator Pitching” To Yourself

I don’t mean to say elevator pitches are never useful.  I’ve found, both in observing myself and working with clients, that delivering a sales pitch out loud is most helpful, not when we’re talking with another person, but when we’re alone.

The exercise I’m suggesting — which is similar to an exercise I have people do in pairs in my workshop — involves simply finding a place to be alone, and speaking, out loud, a brief description of what you have to offer.  As you do this, notice how you find yourself feeling and reacting.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:  where is my body tensing up as I’m talking?  Is this a really intense or anxiety-provoking experience?  Is there some reason why doing this doesn’t feel okay — maybe, for instance, there’s a sense that I’m being pushy, greedy, or deceptive, or that I’m wasting someone else’s time?

In my experience, the more awareness we develop around why it’s hard to talk about our business, the more we become able to put into perspective the difficult thoughts and feelings that come up when we self-promote.

How This Has Helped Me

This exercise has been very helpful to me personally.  In the past, when someone asked me “what do you do?”, I’d find answering difficult for some reason.  I’d get an uncomfortable, heavy feeling in my stomach, and to avoid that feeling I’d often find myself downplaying what I did or changing the subject.

Worse still, all the usual techniques for crafting a compelling elevator pitch didn’t seem to help.  No matter how much I practiced my speech, and worked to deliver it with convincing intonation and body language, that pesky sensation remained.

I finally started getting more comfortable talking about my business when I shifted my focus from trying to “look and sound good,” to getting intimate with that weird feeling that came up when I promoted myself.  My new practice was to make my speech, while holding my attention on my stomach and any queasiness that arose there.

What I found was that, the more I just allowed that unsettled feeling to be there, without running away from it or criticizing myself for having it, the more familiar and tolerable it became.  Once the feeling became easier to be with, talking about my business began to feel more natural, and even fun now and then.

Some Announcements

Upcoming workshop: I’ll be leading another full-day Inner Productivity Intensive workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area, on February 26, 2011, with yoga teacher Rosy Moon.  I’ll be offering a substantial discount to my newsletter subscribers shortly, so I’d definitely recommend signing up for the newsletter if the course sounds like something you’d be interested in.

New e-book at DevInContext: At my lesser-known-but-just-as-worthwhile blog, DevInContext, I’ve released a free e-book compiling some of my best posts there into longer essays.  I think it will be food for thought for you if you’ve been interested in any of the recent controversies surrounding the personal development field.

I came to praise them, not bury them: I previously put links to Evita‘s and Patricia‘s warm and wonderful reviews of my audio course at the end of one of my more “avant-garde,” “grunge,” and, er, “Personal Development 3.0″ posts, but I thought it would also be helpful to add them at the end of this one too, to make sure their posts get the exposure they deserve.

My Recent Radio Appearance (Audio)

I’ve received some requests for a recording of my recent appearance on Seeing Beyond with Bonnie Coleen, and some people had difficulty downloading the recording from the radio station’s site.  So, I’m posting the file here to make sure you get the chance to hear it.

The interview is about bringing mindfulness practice into your work, finding your true calling in your career, my Career Satisfaction From Within Audio Course, and my upcoming projects.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download the Interview Here (27 mins.; MP3 file; right-click and select “Save As” to download)

My Recent Radio Appearance (Audio)

I’ve received some requests for a recording of my recent appearance on Seeing Beyond with Bonnie Coleen, and some people had difficulty downloading the recording from the radio station’s site.  So, I’m posting the file here to make sure you get the chance to hear it.

The interview is about bringing mindfulness practice into your work, finding your true calling in your career, my Career Satisfaction From Within Audio Course, and my upcoming projects.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download the Interview Here (27 mins.; MP3 file; right-click and select “Save As” to download)

My Recent Radio Appearance (Audio)

I’ve received some requests for a recording of my recent appearance on Seeing Beyond with Bonnie Coleen, and some people had difficulty downloading the recording from the radio station’s site.  So, I’m posting the file here to make sure you get the chance to hear it.

The interview is about bringing mindfulness practice into your work, finding your true calling in your career, my Career Satisfaction From Within Audio Course, and my upcoming projects.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download the Interview Here (27 mins.; MP3 file; right-click and select “Save As” to download)

My Recent Radio Appearance (Audio)

I’ve received some requests for a recording of my recent appearance on Seeing Beyond with Bonnie Coleen, and some people had difficulty downloading the recording from the radio station’s site.  So, I’m posting the file here to make sure you get the chance to hear it.

The interview is about bringing mindfulness practice into your work, finding your true calling in your career, my Career Satisfaction From Within Audio Course, and my upcoming projects.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download the Interview Here (27 mins.; MP3 file; right-click and select “Save As” to download)

My Recent Radio Appearance (Audio)

I’ve received some requests for a recording of my recent appearance on Seeing Beyond with Bonnie Coleen, and some people had difficulty downloading the recording from the radio station’s site.  So, I’m posting the file here to make sure you get the chance to hear it.

The interview is about bringing mindfulness practice into your work, finding your true calling in your career, my Career Satisfaction From Within Audio Course, and my upcoming projects.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download the Interview Here (27 mins.; MP3 file; right-click and select “Save As” to download)

My Recent Radio Appearance (Audio)

I’ve received some requests for a recording of my recent appearance on Seeing Beyond with Bonnie Coleen, and some people had difficulty downloading the recording from the radio station’s site.  So, I’m posting the file here to make sure you get the chance to hear it.

The interview is about bringing mindfulness practice into your work, finding your true calling in your career, my Career Satisfaction From Within Audio Course, and my upcoming projects.  I hope you enjoy it!

Download the Interview Here (27 mins.; MP3 file; right-click and select “Save As” to download)

Interview With Entrepreneurship Coach John Van Dinther

I’m pleased to welcome back entrepreneurship coach John Van Dinther of 2Hats Consulting (who hosted my earlier teleseminar) to talk about the direction, productivity and marketing issues entrepreneurs commonly face, and some exercises he uses to help his clients deal with those concerns.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

* How John’s unique “online vision board” approach can help you solidify your direction in your business and other areas of your life

* How using pictures of the process of your work, not just the end product, in your online vision board can help with your motivation

* How keeping in mind “the big picture” of why you’re doing what you’re doing can empower you through tasks you normally see as mundane or boring

* How to “anchor” your vision for your business deep in your body, so you can access your inspiration at any time

* How treating yourself with compassion can benefit your productivity

* Why getting comfortable with being alone in silence is so important for the solo entrepreneur

* How to make peace with those negative inner voices telling you that you won’t succeed

* Why it’s key to focus on the benefit you’re providing clients, not the services you provide, in your marketing approach

Download the Interview (MP3 file; 25 mins.; right-click and select “Save As” to download)