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The Dumbwaiter Pitch, One Word and “Nothing”

"I think I can sum up the show for you in one word: Nothing." George Costanza

At our last workshop, Barbara and I facilitated a section on creating and delivering “the elevator pitch.” That ‘s the 30- to 90-second pithy, engaging summary of who you are and what you do.  Of course, I have never been “pitched to” on an elevator in my life. I clearly missed those dot.com exchanges happening in elevators all over the world in the 1990s.  Nonetheless, the jargon lives on.  Being SpeakWell Partners, we animated the learning by pretending that we were actually getting on and off elevators, and acting out the “what” and “what not” to do to craft your pitch. It was fun and very productive.

Recently, I heard the phrase ”dumbwaiter pitch” which is the one-word, speed-dating version of the elevator pitch. Funny, right? And smart. Strategically, I think the one word is infinitely more useful to businesses and their employees, entrepreneurs, speakers and in fact, any resolution-makers.

I use this technique with my clients.  I urge them to find one word to describe what they believe the audience wants from them and one word to guide their presentation.  For example, you might identify that your audience wants INFORMATION, but you want to be seen as a LEADER.  These one words help keep perspective during the presentation, (especially in those moments when you lose your way.)

So, what is my one word for SpeakWell Partners? CONNECT!

  1. CONNECT TO YOUR AUDIENCE:  Connecting is the first and most essential aspect to a successful presentation. When you don’t connect, no amount of information, gestures and fancy PowerPoint will matter.
  2. CONNECT TO CLIENTS:  Listen. Understand their needs and priorities. Build trust and meaningful work through connection.
  3. CONNECT TO THOUGHT LEADERS: Stay tuned to your community of experts, colleagues, and stay connected to great ideas and information.
  4. CONNECT TO OURSELVES: What we value, what we want, what we know is true.

What’s your key word for your business this year?

-Charlotte

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