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3 Elevator Pitch Mistakes (and Improvements)

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Clients and prospects are often asking me if they should join Business Networking International, an international networking organization with chapters all over the world, notoriously early weekly meetings and whose motto is “givers gain.”

This morning I attended a local BNI Visitor’s Meeting (so half the attendees were not members) and had a chance to watch 40 people stand up (yes, stand up) and give their elevator pitch (including me!) in 45 seconds or less.

Everyone (and I mean everyone) is required to

One benefit of BNI membership (and there are many) is that you have a chance to practice and perfect your elevator pitch.

That’s the thing about an elevator pitch: there are so many different approaches you can take. In fact, I thought of 2 better ways I could have given mine — after my turn passed!

Also, how you speak is as important (if not more) as what you say.

I noticed that some people said all the right things but their unnecessary (and probably unconscious) behaviors almost negated their message.  So here are 3 things we can all work on:

  1. Eliminate extraneous words.  The addition of “kind of” and “sorta,” “you know” and the like (include “like”) takes the strength out of any elevator pitch.
  2. Stop the unnecessary gestures. Shoulder-shrugging and arm-waving are distracting and betray the anxiety one may feel. I felt myself put my hands on my hips for a few moments, which I’m sure speaks volumes as well. Gotta work on that.
  3. Speak up, speak slowly and articulate clearly. There’s no worse betrayal of one’sNetworking Kit nervousness than a soft voice and mumbling.

To make all of these improvements, you have to be super self-aware (I love what Gary Vaynerchuk has to say about being self aware) — and it takes practice.

My Networking Kit, It’s Who You Know, can help too. (And it’s on sale this week for $20 off)


  • More in: Gary Vaynerchuk, Networking, Posts by Ilise

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