Everyone in business is looking for advice. Even after 14 years, I’m still looking for advice. However, it’s a question of quality over quantity, the former of the two being the goal.
So imagine my disappointment — and bemusement — when I read advice about how to tell your story in 30 seconds. Quite frankly, it is — by and large — terrible advice. If you want to read it, do so, but I’ve expanded on several of the points with my own annotations. In short, it’s advice for people afflicted with a Twitter-esque blink-and-you’ll-miss-it attitude to engagement.
“Your elevator pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? Where do you want to go, or what are you looking for?”
How is my directionality even relevant to the person I’m speaking with? At no time ever have I encountered anyone who cares where I want to go. Usually, they have a problem which bars them from going where they need to go, and it’s my task to help them get there.
“After studying your resume and LinkedIn profile, write down four bullet points that explain why you’re great…”
Why you think you might be great is not nearly as accurate or as meaningful as evidence of what you have achieved, and what others think of you. If you want to impress, ask for testimonials with names — in other words, ask for references.
“People love stories…”
Yes, storytelling has its merits, but it assumes the person you’re speaking with cares enough to listen, or even has the time. So go for relevance and accuracy over being concise. If what you’re saying has merit, they’ll make the time.
If you have story, make sure it’s relevant to a problem or “pain” the person you’re speaking with is suffering from.
30 seconds is a nonsense amount of time. If someone expects you to say anything of meaning or merit in that amount of time, ask yourself this: why give your time to someone who prizes conciseness over accuracy and quality?
Maybe this article took 1 or perhaps 2 minutes for you to read. But since you got this far, I’m assuming you did so for a reason other than your time being more valuable than gold.