The cold open

No one ever bought anything on an elevator. The elevator pitch isn’t about selling your idea, because a metaphorical elevator is a lousy place to make a pitch.

When you feel like you’re being judged and only have a minute to make a first impression, it’s tempting to try to explain the truth and nuance of who you are, what you’ve done and what you’re going to do in the time it takes to travel a few floors.

That rarely works.

The alternative is the elevator question, not the elevator pitch. To begin a conversation–not about you, but about the person you’re hoping to connect with. If you know who they are and what they want, it’s a lot more likely you can figure out if they’re a good fit for who you are and what you want. And you can take the opportunity to help them find what they need, especially if it’s not from you.

Too often, we feel rejected when in fact, all that’s happened is a mismatch of needs, narratives and what’s on offer.

Instead of looking at everyone as someone who could fund you or buy from you or hire you, it might help to imagine that almost no one can do those things, but there are plenty of people you might be able to help in some other way, even if it’s only to respect them enough to not make a pitch.

No one wants to be hustled.