亚斯特罗是一位品牌顾问，他的客户包括麦当劳（McDonald's）和珍妮•克雷格减肥公司。最近，他出版了一本与此话题有关的新书《放弃游说：即兴说服的艺术》（Ditch the Pitch: The Art of Improvised Persuasion）。他表示，千篇一律的演说注定不会有人愿意听，这是因为我们每天都会被成千上万的广告信息狂轰滥炸，以至于“只要感觉有人想游说他们，人们就会产生防卫心理。”
Dear Annie: I'm ready to move on from the job I have now to something with more scope for advancement, which means I'm job hunting for the first time in about 20 years. Since it has been so long since I had to talk about myself to people who aren't familiar with my work, I've been reading a lot of advice on how to go about it, and I keep coming across this idea of having a short (one- or two-minute) "elevator pitch" that sums up my skills and experience.
I have two problems with this. First, I've had almost two decades of experience that varies all over the map, so it isn't easy to pack it all into a minute or two. And second, the idea of trying to do that just seems really phony to me. What do you and your readers think? Do I need an "elevator pitch" or not? -- Skeptical in Seattle
Dear S.S.: Ever been to a networking event, or a party, where someone buttonholed you and delivered a scripted presentation of his or her life and career? If so, and assuming your reaction was to look for some way to escape, you know what it's like to be stuck in an elevator with someone who's delivering a pitch.
By contrast, says Steve Yastrow, "If you've ever met someone at a party -- or a wedding, or anywhere -- and made a date for lunch the next week, it wasn't because you and that person made scripted presentations to each other. It's because you connected. The rules are the same in a job interview, or on an elevator, as everywhere else in life."
Yastrow, who is a branding consultant with clients like McDonald's (MCD) and Jenny Craig, recently published a book on this topic called Ditch the Pitch: The Art of Improvised Persuasion. A canned speech, he says, is doomed to fall on deaf ears, partly because we're all bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day, to the point where "when people sense a pitch coming at them, they get defensive."
Even more important: "If you create a message before you know anything about the other person, how can you possibly know it's what they are looking for? It's like throwing a dart in a dark room."
Instead of "sucking up all the air on the proverbial elevator by talking about yourself," he says, practice piquing the other person's curiosity so that he or she wants to learn more. "You won't close the deal, or get the job, in an elevator, or even in one interview if it's a senior role," he says. "So your goal should be to earn the other person's interest -- and another meeting."