Get Going on Your Escalator Speech

A new book  “Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little” (reviewed in today’s New York Times) says the “elevator speech” may be too long. We now have such a short time to catch our target’s attention that we should think about an escalator pitch, “short enough to make when you’re on the up escalator and your [target] is on the down escalator, passing by.” In writing, we’ve moved from email (long) to Twitter and texting (140 characters or less), and soon we may be limited to Haiku-length messages! When we talk, there are no formal time limits. (Are you old enough to remember when we talked fast on long-distance calls because we were paying by the minute?)  However, we know our listeners are not only used to receiving information in sound-bites, they’ve got gadgets in their pockets clamoring for their attention if we so much as pause to take a breath.  The challenge is to find a way to say something meaningful very quickly or develop ways to engage enough curiosity so our listeners stay tuned in to us.

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