Word of Mouth is Not an Elevator Pitch

It happens often when I am at a school. A board member or administrator will suggest that they need to develop their elevator pitch. The underlying tone behind this suggestion is that they want to come up with a message that they teach everyone to say.

Let’s think about this concept for a moment.

If you have 60 seconds on an elevator ride what would you share with your fellow passengers about your school?

Would you have your memorized “pitch” ready to share?

I actually doubt that it would sound anything like a pitch.

Honestly, I don’t like the concept of an elevator pitch.

First of all, do memorized pitches really work to encourage someone else to consider your school? I don’t think so.

Secondly, would you want someone sharing an elevator pitch with you?

While the concept of an elevator pitch might be good to consider your message point and what you would say, I don’t encourage school leaders to develop one.

Word of Mouth is not a memorized elevator pitch. Instead, word of mouth works best when your parents talk about your school from their own experiences and stories. It works better when they talk from the heart.

Let me give you an example.

I love Starbucks coffee. My favorite beverage is a Quad, Grande Americano. For those non-coffee drinkers, that’s four shots of expresso and hot water. It is a very smooth, bold and strong cup of coffee. Try it. I may get you hooked!

I enjoy going to Starbucks to work on projects, reports, and blog posts. I actually wrote my dissertation in Starbucks over a three-month period many years ago.

I don’t ever remember Starbucks reaching out to me so that I could learn their elevator pitch. They know I will talk about their product from my own experiences and my passion for coffee. In fact, they don’t even have to ask.

The conversation about my love for Starbucks coffee comes naturally. It comes from my own experiences and results in the personal stories that I share.

The same is true for the parents in your school.

Your parents share the best word of mouth when they talk to their friends from their own experiences and stories. It is authentic and real. It isn’t contrived or forced.

As you encourage your parents to share word of mouth this year, encourage them to speak from the heart. Ask them to share their story with you or in a group.

Your parents don’t need a memorized speech. They don’t have to have all of the answers. They certainly don’t need an elevator pitch.