I did realize the irony of 3719 words on 15 second marketing, but I didn't yet know how much Steve would twist himself into knots trying to figure out how to make people interested in the answer to a question that they have no interest in the answer to before they even ask it. Let's not be too hard on Steve. He's "Smart People™" after all. Somehow, despite how vastly intelligent he claims to be, he just can't wrap his mind around the fact that someone he encounters just might not give a shit about his "fascinating" life.
The basic idea is that when someone asks what you do for a living, you want to offer a response that stimulates the right kind of discussion. So if you’d like to grow your business, you need a marketing message that serves as a good lead-in to a discussion that will help you generate new leads and attract more clients. This is not as easy as it sounds.
That's because they don't give a shit what you do. There is no right answer here, Steve. You're not generating leads. You are making idle chatter with someone that simply does not care. Of course it isn't easy to turn that person into a business referral. Especially when you stubbornly refuse to pick a label for your business.
Steve goes on to talk about how readers are better at referring people to his website than he is. That's because his readers don't have a mental block against saying something like, "there's a self-help blog I like at stevepavlina.com. I think it would interest you too." Steve would never be so ordinary as to put it so simply.
Where it gets truly hilarious, and in epic proportion, is where he tries to actually come up with his own elevator pitch. His first try is this:
I teach people who are living below their potential how to feel energized and motivated, how to earn lots of money doing what they love, and how to make a real contribution to humanity, so they can finally enjoy the life that deep down they know they were meant to live.
I had to pause a grab a fresh breath of air after reading that. Now, Steve claims the problem with this is that it is too long. I was thinking about if I met someone and they told me this, what would my response be? Probably something like "Cuckoo. Cuckoo."
Then he tries again with shorter versions.
I help people grow.
What are they? Trees?
I help people live more consciously.
You work with coma patients?
I help people overcome their fears.
I'm beginning to fear that this elevator ride will not end.
I help people quit their jobs so they can fulfill their life’s purpose.
So, do people tend to thank you when the bank forecloses on their house?
I help people break bad habits and overcome addictions.
So you're an addiction counselor now?
I help people take more risks and live more courageously.
I get it. You're an Army drill sergeant.
Sadly, Steve realizes what the problem is in the third paragraph, but he refuses to acknowledge that there really isn't any more substance to a quick conversation. It's not going to be deep and meaningful, no matter how you answer a meaningless question. Steve says, "At best the other person may ask a few follow-up questions, but deep down they don’t really care about your answers.They’re just making polite conversation."
That's it. They don't care about your answers. By definition, they don't care even BEFORE asking the question. They're just making polite conversation, and there are no business leads to be had. There is no deep meaningful friendship to be made. If Steve was not so adamantly against labeling himself in a simplistic way, if he was not so hell bent on attempting to be too complex for the common person, he would see that most people just really don't give a shit.
As for me, My elevator pitch is to remain awkwardly silent, and hope that the other person doesn't feel compelled to even make polite conversation. I don't feel an urge to "connect" with everyone I meet. Actually, I don't even like most people that I meet. I don't want to be their friend. I don't care.
I can sum up Steve Pavlina in 15 seconds or less. Bullshit Artist.
I hope I never have to take an elevator ride with Steve Pavlina. It will probably be the most insufferable 15 seconds of my life.