This morning, half way through a conversation with a print salesman about my order of training booklets, I was hit broadside by The Question.
‘So what do you do?’
Wah! Caught unawares, my careful ‘elevator pitch’, the succinct description of my key professional motivations, actions and finer features, completely deserted me. I mumbled something about ‘engaging’, ‘increasing communication’ and generally sharing the cultural heritage joy.
After a pause, the salesman said ‘well, I am sure that it very useful to people in your field’. Ouch, damned, and not even with faint praise.
It made me reflect on how easily we forget how we sound to the people we work alongside but who don’t know us or what we do. And on how, if I really am working to help museums and heritage organisations to relate better to their audiences, I need to make sure that non-sector colleagues, friends and family understand that too.
My elevator pitch has the potential not only to get me work, but also to introduce the cultural organisations I work with to people who previously hadn’t heard of them. After all, every conversation can be a doorway to another. But by being vague or unclear or by using too much jargon, what we say can slam that conversational door tight shut.
Later this afternoon, quite unprompted, a Facebook friend asked me the same question. So I decided to re-draft my elevator pitch…
There’s all sorts of advice about this online, some of it incomprehensible or frankly terrifying, but I like this one from BizGym, which helps you make it sound like a natural sentence rather than a ferocious tongue-twister.
So, gentle reader, here goes:
Hi! I’m Jenni Waugh, from Jenni Waugh Consulting.
My company helps museums to communicate better and to more people about the great stuff they do through digital and personal development activity that is affordable and tailored to suit their needs.
Better? I think so.
But not yet perfect. As ever, I remain a work in progress…
How’s your elevator pitch coming along?