I am sorry to disagree with the conventional wisdom about the ‘elevator pitch’ that says that one has to be able to describe a mission in life, a purpose of business, or a portfolio of products in the short 20 second trip of an elevator. I don’t buy it. Not even if the elevator is in the New York Empire State Building. Sorry, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, I should say, to be more up-to-date in world tallness.
The pressure today is to summarize, condense, shrink, highlight, make it as short as possible. There is a quest for cleverness, synthesis, the slogan, the sound bite, the PR line, the brand’s power-line, the smart tagline, the ‘one sentence’, the ‘three bullet points’, the summary, the executive summary, the key points, the short version. Sorry, I don’t buy it. And I know it will make me unpopular and politically incorrect.
There are short and long things, simple and complex, reducible and not, long and short. And, there is a place for both, but the world is saying, there is only one: the short, the ‘elevator pitch’. Of course, we find ourselves in full pandemic of Collective Attention Deficit Disorder, but it does not mean that you have to contribute to the illness. Sorry, I am not going to do it.
Clear thinking does not correlate with length of sentence. Ernest Hemingway’s writing has been hailed as the norm of modern English because of the very short sentences he uses. I believe that he wrote everything in short sentences because he was mostly drunk and could not write a long one. I met him once in Spain for 5 seconds. I was 10 years old and I remember that hotel terrace where my father used to take us on a Sunday afternoon and where Mr Hemingway was having some fun.
If it’s worth pitching, explaining, if it’s appealing, convincing, engaging, enchanting, don’t use the elevator. Take the longer journey of the conceptual stairs.