Much is being said and written by consultants, coaches, authors and communication specialists about the demise of the so called “elevator pitch”. How can you tell if the advice being offered up is wisdom or total bull?

An ‘elevator pitch’ is a response to the question “What do you do?” that goes beyond title “I’m a lawyer” “I’m a financial planner” “I’m a real estate agent” and helps you design an answer to provoke increased interest and stimulate a conversation. The trick is to create the “pitch” so that it can be stated quickly, between floors in an elevator, while losing none of the teaser, tantalizer appeal.

Common wisdom of not too many years ago, was that the elevator pitch was an absolute “must have” for effective marketing and simple self-promotion. Today, common wisdom seems to have shifted to something more along the lines of “only an idiot thinks she/he can ‘sell themselves’ between floors in an elevator!”

Not so fast kemosabe. Are either viewpoints 100% accurate?

My sense, from studying and working with hundreds of thought leaders, successful business owners and insightful entrepreneurs is this: It depends! Well duh!

Here’s the best I can offer: An elevator pitch can never guarantee to provoke interest in you, your product or your services. But a response that is only title guarantees that it will not!

My program THINK – FOCUS – ACT demands that you plan ahead and think how to respond to any and all questions about you or your business before they happen.

When in seat 15C, ten minutes into a flight to Vancouver, you’d tick off your seatmate when asked “What do you do?” to say: “I specialize in providing leverage, licence and empowerment to organizations wanting to dramatically improve financial assistance and support they get from MP’s, MPP’s and Governments by radical enhancement and implementation of professional government relations and public relations services.” Nope. A quick “I’m in GR and PR” would suffice.

But, the same response when in a boardroom surrounded by frustrated board members, tired of being ignored by politicians and you are asked: “So what exactly do you folks do?” to say only: “I’m in Government Relations and Public Relations” would immediately make ‘em even more frustrated and kill any hope of you getting a positive outcome – for you or for them.

Don’t get deluded by the sound bites of headlines and broad brush pronouncements of well-meaning advice which often masquerades as wisdom.

“Ya gotta have a well-crafted elevator pitch!” BS!

“The elevator pitch is dead!” Also BS!

Think for yourself. Think deeply. Come to your own strategic conclusions. And then be prepared. Be ready to reply effectively, persuasively and convincingly as the circumstances deserve and demand.

The elevator pitch is dead if it doesn’t serve the customer and you.

It is alive and well when it does.