6 New Types of Elevator Pitches

Daniel H. Pink, the author of “To Sell Is Human,” unveils six successors to the classic elevator pitch. He sees the new age “Pitch” not so much as a sales speech, but as an invitation to have a meaningful conversation. Pink borrows from successful models pioneered in entertainment and social media to re-invent the pitching process.

Pink adapts effective approaches used in emails, tweets and movies to evolve the modern day pitch.

  • The Pixar Pitch is modeled after the narrative structure of Pixar Films, which sets up a series of episodes and enlists the power of story-telling to convey a very effective message
  • Email is a pitch, it is a plea to engage; successful subject lines fall into two categories—they have utility (useful) or they peak curiosity
  • The Rhyme: rhymes help you process more quickly, e.g., O.J. Simpson trial, the defense used “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”
  • Questions: statements are more passive, questions are active (e.g., in 1980 Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan asked: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”)
  • Tweeting: give people good information and ask questions
  • One-word: gain ownership of one word (President in 2012 used “Forward”)

A key moment (at 3:56): The word “pitch” implies that I’m going to throw the ball to you and you’re going to catch it or not, but it’s much more interactive. You have to think of pitching not as selling something right now, but as an intriguing invitation to have a conversation.