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The Elevator Pitch

Salespeople have a concept called the elevator pitch.

This is the pitch you would use if you find yourself in a lift with the Head Honcho of your potential customer. So you have 60 seconds or so. You have to make your case – what you’re selling and why they should buy it – as simply and clearly as possible.

The idea is not that you are likely to be riding an elevator with the CEO. It’s to strip what you have to say down to the essentials, so that you have a clear idea of just what your point is.

This is a useful exercise when preparing for a tribunal case.

Lawyers can tend towards hyperbole on this; saying things like “Every case has only one point in it”. This is an exaggeration. But almost all cases can be summed up shortly and simply.

For example:

I wasn’t given a promotion, because I was a woman. That’s sex discrimination.

I was sacked because they said I’d stolen stock. They based that on the fact that some stock was missing from my area. But, if they’d checked with other areas, they’d have realised that everyone has stock control issues. Actually, my stock control was better than most. So my dismissal was unfair.

My collegues made homophobic jokes in emails they sent to all employees. As a gay man I found this very unpleasant. So I have suffered sexual orientation harassment.

All of these cases would need considerable elaboration to succeed or even for an ET1 to be drafted. But the core point is simple. And it’s worth having a clear idea of what that simple, core point is – so that you can focus on what is important.

For the avoidance of any possible doubt, if you should find yourself in a lift with a member of your tribunal, do not ‘pitch’ them on your case. Just nod politely and, if conversation is absolutely necessary, talk about the weather.

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