The un-elevator pitch

Do you have an elevator pitch? You do? Great, throw it away. If you run into someone and have a few seconds to make an impression, launching into a spiel all about you might be a huge mistake. Instead, use that first 30 seconds to create a bond and there is a good chance you can earn yourself a lot more time in their brain than by spouting off about what you do.

According to Scientific American, people spend 60% of their time in conversation talking about themselves. For most folks “me” is their favorite topic. So, if someone asks you what you do and you answer the question then the conversation is over. Instead, ask a question back, get them talking, and begin to kindle the flame of a connection.

Anything to continue the conversation is a great start. Don’t go off on the rails entirely, but talk about some aspect of your business that is highly relatable and get them back to talking as soon as possible.

If you can create some context for what you do and keep them talking about themselves, they are more likely to have a positive impression of you. Revealing information about yourself increases interpersonal liking and aids in the formation of new social bonds.

The same principle holdstrue if you approach someone. Next time you’re in a crowded elevator try asking someone what gets them out of bed in the morning or what they would do if they won a million dollars instead of merely asking what they do for a living.