Even though people rarely talk in elevators anymore, due to the newfangled video screens and such, legend has it that business owners and salespeople used to stalk busy executives until they’d board an elevator — at which point the assertive salesperson would “pitch” their captive audience during the 30-60 seconds it would take for the lift to arrive at its destination.  If they said something brief, captivating, and compelling, they might luck out and land a sales meeting.  If they droned on — and didn’t finish their pitch before the elevator stopped moving — they were pretty much sunk.

From these humble beginnings, the concept of the “elevator pitch” was born, and now this infamous message represents an integral step that ALL relationship-focused individuals need to master — whether they are professional salespeople, entrepreneurs, or one of the many job hunters out there seeking to “sell” themselves to a potential employer.

Given these factors, my curiosity was piqued when I stumbled across a website called 15SecondPitch.com the other day.  The creation of Laura Allen, a professional marketing consultant, the site offers a wealth of advice, information, and examples about how to craft a 15-second introduction to yourself that is “concise, compelling, and conversational.”  Does the site deliver on this promise?  Well, yes and no.  On the positive side, there’s some great “pitch” tips that you can access via Ms. Allen’s blog and free newsletter.  Even better, you should watch the “before and after” video clips she has available on the site, since these will give you some powerful examples of people improving their E.P. messages in a hurry, and the production value of these clips is downright exceptional.  Of course, the skeptic in me suspects that the people in the video might have been actors, or at the very least told to act dopey and tongue-tied in the opening “before” part, but the montage still gets the key point across in a big way.

The part of the site I didn’t care for much?  It was the big flashy “Pitch Wizard” tool in the center of the home page.  After taking the time to click on this intriguing feature, and answer the set of four short questions that came up, I assumed some kind of special magic was going to happen and the computer (don’t ask me how) was going to polish my raw text into some type of glowing, brilliant presentation.  Instead, it simply joined the four sentences of text I had entered into a single paragraph, and said “voila, here’s your pitch!”  This was underwhelming, to say the least, and I’m not sure one needs to go through the trouble of creating a fancy Flash application to repeat a person’s exact words back to them.

At any rate, the 15SecondPitch site is worth a quick pit stop, at the very least, and is concentrated on a specific messaging component that is sorely needed by a great many job hunters out there!