Life coaches and headhunters suggest we have an “elevator pitch,” a quick line to help you “sell” yourself at a moment’s notice. According to Forbes, “It should be a 30-second speech that summarizes who you are, what you do and why you’d be a perfect candidate.” I’ve had mine ready ever since my book about my grandfather came out in case I was ever stuck in an elevator with Steven Spielberg.
As I was leaving Central Park after a five-mile walk yesterday (all sweaty, as you can imagine) I saw him. Spielberg. He was walking towards me. When you see someone you’ve only ever seen on television, it takes your brain a moment to register the enormity of the situation because they’re out of context. Years ago I saw Caroline Kennedy in Central Park. Since we were the only two people around, I started up a conversation about Centerville, the town I grew up in that’s near the Kennedy Compound. She was all too happy to chat about Four Seas Ice Cream.
But when I saw Spielberg, my elevator pitch…
“Hello Mr. Spielberg, I just want to thank you. I am a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and after seeing Schindler’s List was inspired to write the book “What Papa Told Me” about my grandfather’s life. My book is being taught in schools and sold around the world. It’s from a grandchild’s perspective and could make an interesting movie.”
… went out the window.
I’m always hesitant to intrude when I see someone famous on the street (Kennedy being an exception), but this was the one person I’d been hoping to see. Of course I’d been planning on being inside the safety of four elevator walls so maybe that’s why my pitch stuck in my throat. Seconds after passing him, I began kicking myself. “When are you ever going to get that chance again?”
I can’t beat myself up over the fact I failed to execute my elevator pitch. Instead I will chalk it up to being considerate of his privacy. However, the next time I see Mr. Spielberg you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be ready to pitch the game of my life.