Meeting Recap: April 23, 2014 (Perfect Elevator Pitch)

posted May 14, 2014, 12:49 PM by Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 11:31 AM ]

Dear APS Members and Guests,


(If you attended this meeting, please see the note below.)

There was standing room only at the APS “Perfect Elevator Pitch” workshop on April 23, 2014, as President Gouri Seetharam called the meeting to order and introduced Toastmaster of the Day and VPE Todd McKinney. 


Before hearing from workshop leader Michael Platania, audience members were treated to inspirational speeches by Treasurer Georgia Jones and President Gouri Seetharam. 


Georgia Jones shared “The Real Reasons Why” we fail, noting that “a failure is not really a failure until you quit.”  She then offered tips for converting failures into lessons that point the way to future success.

In his cautionary tale, "Recovering Engineer," Laurent Nicourt revealed how sometimes a step backward is the best way forward.  He recounted how his own efforts to secure a degree in engineering steered him toward his true calling--social change through political action.


Gouri Seetharam gave her final speech at APS by quoting her favorite guru, Lao Tzu:  “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”  Drawing from her own life, she offered three tips:  1) You need to get a mirror, and if you don’t like what you see, don’t blame the mirror. 2) Embrace the unexpected, and 3) Take that leap of faith.


Elevator Pitch Doctor (and Area 34 Governor) Michael Platania then took center stage with some guidance on how audience members can craft their own perfect elevator pitches.  He gave the following insights: 

  • The more narrowly you can pinpoint your target client, the more effective your elevator pitch will be.  If you are targeting everyone, you are reaching no one.
  • Your elevator pitch is not the last word on what you do.  It is not your business card or resume.  Instead, it is a conversation opener.  You want to leave them wanting to know more.
  • The general structure is:  I help (who) (do what) so they (why).  Your own why will be the benefit of what you do.  The why is what leaves your audience wanting to know more.
  • As Toastmasters, we know that the impact of what we say is 7% words, and 93% how we say it, or the emotional content.  Therefore, we want to focus on the emotion of what we do.
  • The best way to get to the emotion is to ask yourself, “What brings you joy in your work?”  “What is unique about you and the work you do?”  “What is your favorite client success story?”

Michael then invited a number of audience members to the front of the room to receive an elevator pitch makeover, including Harry Aneziris, Amit Nihalani, Bryan Corbitt, and Steve Brady.  Michael  concluded with some final wisdom:  Your elevator pitch isn’t a static spiel that you memorize and recite.  It’s a living, evolving expression of who you are.  If you get in touch with your passion and come from an authentic place, your elevator pitch will emerge spontaneously. The words may change, but the underlying emotion of joy and commitment to your work will stay the same.

The meeting concluded with a good-bye presentation to Gouri, who is moving on to a new job with the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.  Goodbye Gouri.  We will miss you!

Note:  Several personal items were left behind after the meeting--a ring, a winter hat, and an umbrella.  If you think one of these might be yours, please contact Georgia Jones at



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Marcia Berry
Secretary, Advanced Public Speakers