Skip to main content

money & life

The Power of Body Language

Lesson 12 of 27

Elevator Pitch Mistakes & Fixes

Vanessa Van Edwards

The Power of Body Language

Vanessa Van Edwards

most popular money & life

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

12. Elevator Pitch Mistakes & Fixes

Lesson Info

Elevator Pitch Mistakes & Fixes

Alright. So mistake number one: The deer in the headlights look! Right. This I see all the time and it's totally natural to do this The reason why we do this, is because, A: We're scared, and B: It's what we do when we are trying to remember what we were trying to say. Right? We're trying to remember our pitch. And you're going through and your eyes are wide. So that is the mistake number one. Luckily, once I tell people that It instantly relaxes their eyelids. Often we're just not even aware of it, that's why it's so important to film your pitch because we don't even know what we look like, so that deer in the headlights fear part of that fear micro expression. Second, it sounds memorized. Right, it sounded like, so the same. And part of that was 'cause she didn't use her hands And she didn't use vocal expressiveness. So we had to add back in emotionality we had to give her more movement both in her body and her voice tone. Number three. She actually sounded bored with her own pitch. ...

Now I see this mistake all the time. And it's because you've said it a thousand times. I know it. I know that you're bored saying it. The problem is if you say it like you're bored, there's no way, the other person is going to be excited for you. So you have, that's why I want you practice saying your pitch at least ten different ways. So that you can add that emotionality back in and it's very hard because we've said our pitch over and over again but I don't want you to sound bored when you're doing it. Mistake number four, she used the question inflection which makes her sound apologetic. Women, unfortunately do this all the time. They introduce themselves like they're apologizing to you that they are there and this crap, It's like breaks my heart when I meet women who are awesome. Like awesome. I meet them and they are like: 'Oh, I'm Sarah.' 'Not you, Sarah.' But like, that was just a name cause I saw you For they're like: 'I'm Sarah.' And they act like they're so sorry that there are Sarah that they are there and they are meeting me. That was really interesting then I see a creative girl who's asked specifically about this, they're saying that, there always seems to be what she says is contempt when two women meet. Because one woman feels more insecure I mean, do you feel that's accurate? All the time. So I won't get too much into female power dynamics. Because it's a long, juicy topic that gets me really excited, so I'll try not to get too into it. Um, but when women get together, there are sort of a sizing up that happens unconsciously because as female, we are competing for subconsciously right even if you're married, we still are subconsciously competing for scares resources were coded back in the day. So what can happen is this weird power dynamic where one feels like they're apologizing to the other 'cause they have decided they're the weakest. Right? And they are literally trying non-verbally show, nope, it's you, I'm not going to threaten your resources. And we still sometimes do this. And so I want you to be really, really honest with yourself, that you are worth it. You are worth meeting, there are no power dynamics. And that's why that power posing is so important. Getting into that launch stance, and feeling confident, and showing confidence, that you are worth meeting. You don't have to apologize for being here, for meeting people, you're worth talking to. And that question flexion also happened to that, apologizing when people use the question flexion, My name is Vanessa? That's like apologizing, I'm not sure if you wanna meet me, I'm not sure if you wanna know me. I'm not sure if I'm worth knowing. You are worth knowing, 'cause that also plays in that apologetic tone. Mistake number five, hopping and swaying. So, when we are nervous, our adrenaline begins to pump. Our adrenaline is a very, it makes us wanna get, like literally 'cause it's rushing out of our fingertips. Some people freezing in adrenaline. And they become this very stiff deer in the headlights kind of look, other people go into motion, and they're low confidence, remember yesterday we talked about the self-diagnosis chart, so for me I'm a mover. I don't freeze, I tend to get really excited, like when I, all I wanna do right now is hop and sway. That's all I wanna do, but I have to be like no, we're gonna calm, we're gonna settle. Some people will be the opposite way. So, hopping and swinging is what I wanna see, it's like we're getting our adrenaline out on our feet. And you'll see people they'll rock back and forth, as they do the elevator pitch, it's 'cause they're so nervous, that they're, their energy is actually going down to their feet. So when you do it, that's the reason why planting into your lance is so important. It keeps you from not freezing up, and it keeps you in that confidence, but also make sure that you're not hopping and swaying, which is another, the last mistake that I see. So let us watch the new pitch with vocal variance, she avoids all the pitch mistakes, and she finally adds and honorable explanation, and you'll see how much more powerful that pitch becomes with just those easy tips. My name is Angela, and I run my own catering business called Gourmet You, we take care of all of your needs for special events, we do everything from birthday parties, to weddings to baby showers, and one thing that most of the catering companies don't do, is help with all aspects of the event, but we not only do food, we also do flowers and decorations, you should check out our website. Right, that was after 15 minutes I showed her these tips, and she was able to easily rotated, I can't imagine how it will be after a couple of hours of practicing, so one of the really simple things that were the most powerful for you in the first one and second one. She included me in her dialogue. Right, so we can get ideas from Angela on this. So she has a couple of things that I don't teach, right? So she reached out, we talked a little bit yesterday about including someone, that's another honorable gesture you can do for conectedness so if you're trying to build work quickly, you can say now we work with people like you, I had a lot of real estate brokers, and we really talked about the importance of reaching out, that we're on the same side, I love helping you, I love helping my clients, here's to say I love helping my clients, and point to the other person. Right, so that's a way of really saying I would like you to be client. It's a non-verbal way of saying that, right? So you can include that in that. What's another non-verbals she used that I didn't talk about. Did someone see it? Right so she went, I help with all of your catering needs, right, so if you help, if you are an all-inclusive package I help with everything, or our company does everything if you're a sales representative or your company, that is another great one. All of it. Yeah. And actually this is on the science of people, forward slash the elegance. Yeah, yeah. And, showing the palm of the hand. That's just like not just showing the hand, but actually showing the palm of the hand. Yeah, so she did that. And we are making much of these I love it, okay. Yeah. So I forgot to mention that, what we talked about yesterday that this, is the universal, I'm open, I'm not hiding anything gesture. When you can add that into your elevator pitch it's incredibly great for building trust. So when she said we do all your catering needs, she's saying I'm transparent, I'm gonna help you with everything right. You also do that when you're reaching out to someone. You're showing them your palm, you're literally showing your hand. You're showing that's everything I got, right, so that's another way that you can do it. She also does something that a lot of the other catering companies don't do. She kind of shows this face of like how could they not do this, I know if you saw that, that was, she was literally showing it's frustrating, I don't do anything out of frustrating stuff. Right we don't, I don't understand why other people don't do that. We do this, and it's great. So you can also do that, I caution about doing that for headers, because you can add that kind of emotionality. If you're looking for ways to add emotion, that can be the way you can do it. Okay, so it is time to work on your elevator pitches. So, oh right, I want to remind you before looking at other pitches, some of the laws that we talked about yesterday, so all the laws that we talked about yesterday, also can be incorporated here. The way that I design this course, is we did the foundation yesterday. Now we're building a house, and tomorrow we make it pretty. That's kind of the way that we do it. So everything we talked about yesterday, is the foundation for having great elevator pitch. So the law of majority, remember what this is? The law of majority is, that most of your communication is non-verbal. So as much as you work on the verbal part of your pitch, the non-verbal is minimum of 60% of how you convey your message, that's extremely important, the law of space. Being okay taking up space. The more space you take up, the more confident you feel, so entering at that launch stance and not tucking your head, not tucking or crossing over your body. Well the hands we talked about, showing and keeping it visible, making them expressive, keeping them in the box, that's mainly what we talked about. We don't wanna get overly expressive, because when we're overly expressive, it makes us look out of control, and disorganized. So expresiveness, in that sweet spot. And that's the law of spectrum right, like keeping it so that we're not, we're, I also actually had a student we do elevator pitch reviews on my website, where people submit elevator pitches and we critique them, and he's a bitter one and he had, do all the tips. The problem was, his everything was a non-verbal gesture. Every single sentence kind of rushing, it was too much. The brain couldn't even focus on the words you were saying so it was like this is awesome just halve the non-verbal gestures, so it's about that sweet spot. Not every sentence, you wanna vary it up, emotionality, having a confident voice tone, and a couple of honorable explanations. And then lastly the law of growth. Law of growth is the most important part, it says that the more we practice, the easier this gets. Every single time you do your elevator pitch, and you have one thing it's gonna make it easier, because our brain is like a muscle, we use this parietal lobe the occipital lobe, to help us with body language, and it should already be growing, I'm deciding the course, so that it's like a workout for your brain, so don't worry if this seems a little bit intimidating at first, start with one thing and one honorable gesture. That one thing will become easy, and then the next week you start with the next one. And that's why having a 30 day action plan for you. So you don't feel like you have to do it all at once, you can break it up in little pieces, and then it grows very naturally for you. Okay, before I make us practice, I do wanna take questions to make sure we're all on the same page. You guys can mentally gear up together. Yes, Sara? So, one of the things that I have trouble with when I try to make my voice low, is that vocal fry, like sort of what happens, a little bit over there it gets crispy, I guess is the word that I use, Yeah, really crispy. So that's totally natural. So that mean you're actually hitting too low, and that's totally okay. So if that happens, take a deep breath and go okay, that was, I was forcing it too low. You also find that I mean our vocal cords and also our muscles as well, the more you do it the more you sort of lubricate those vocal cords. I took a terrible center, terrible, terrible. But I took a couple of voice lessons, so that I could get into my natural pitch, and that really helped it sort of smooth out, so the more you do it easier it'll be, just raise up an octave if that happens, good question. Further questions, yes. In the cases where you lose your train of thought, what are some good non-verbal gestures, or keys to use? Okay, totally a fabulous question, be transparent. So I'm not talking about this study here, I have a, my next course on work limits, totally free actually, it's on, seven scientifically proven ways to improve your influence, and they're talking about sort of psychological ways, to increase your influence. And one of the things I talk about is vulnerability. Actually makes you more influential. So just fascinating study that happened, where the researchers had a woman give a blender demonstration at a mall. So she had this table, and she had a blender and she was like, here's the blender, it's making smoothie, and she had this like perfectly polished presentation, and everyone in the audience rated her and bought blenders. Then they had another actress come on a few days later, and she had the same exact pitch, but she spilled the smoothie. Like she's just, look at this amazing blender, it blends perfectly, oops, and then she got a blender everywhere, it was on her shirt and she had on the table. She not only sold more blenders, she was actually rated higher by the audience. This doesn't even make sense, right? Like, what? What they found is it actually humanizes you. So if you mess up, you forget your words, go with it, say it, you know if I forget what I'm saying, I literally will be like, I totally forgot what I was even saying to you. And they laugh, and we laugh and we just keep going. SO I'm so glad you brought that up, because if you make a mistake, if you mess up a word, gosh I made so many mistakes in the stage, and it's like meh, because it humanizes you. It makes it actually more real. So if you make a mistake is totally fine and I would just go with it. Yeah, any other question from the audience or we take then from the chat rooms? Now okay, chat room questions? Yes, photogirl2020 says, oh gosh I'm pretty sure I do that inflection all the time, where you raise your voice again, she said she also notices, I tend to do a nervous laugh after I say something, because I'm very introverted and I feel awkward after the conversation. A lot of people do that, yeah. I think I do that sometimes. I think I do that. Nervous giggling. Oh nervous giggling, I know, that's a really, really hard one, and that is defense mechanisms that we do when we're really nervous. So if you know you have a problem with nervous giggling or if you say a lot of um's, like's and you know's, I don't even go into that here, because we all know we need to work on it. Or use question inflection, but I'm asked to do is really awesome dream-teller friend, come and sit with you, and they will buzz you. That is the best way to do it, I had a couple friends who I'll pitch them, I'll practice with them, I was doing my creative live opening I had them sit with me and I haven't been like, oh nope you did it, oh nope you did it, I actually have a little bell. That actually is the best way, 'cause you kinda make it like a funny fun thing, it's with people you trust, if you don't feel comfortable using other people, totally fine, film your pitch over and over again. Having the camera on, is really important. It's important for a couple reasons. First it makes you nervous, right, adding the camera heightens your nerves, which mimics a real life situation with a stranger, so that's why it's important to have the camera on, second is you can watch yourself and count how many times you do it and then practice it again and again until you get down to zero or one time, right, and you can keep practicing and you can see your progress. It's either a friend or be friendly camera, and it sounds like photogirl probably has a lot of cameras so she could easily do it. I'm very interested in this one personally, it's from nineminutenap, they're saying, there's two parts, I wanna have my own question to this, it says how should we interact with superiors, bosses et cetera, who demonstrate weak body language themselves, should we tone down our body language, so we don't convey intimidation or disrespect? Now I'm slightly curious as well, because there's a thinking nowadays that companies should have what they call flat organizations, where nobody is a superior, nobody is a subordinate, because even by eliminating those terms, people feel more comfortable. But I don't think you can have quite get away from it, someone will always be your boss. Right, so that's a really good question. If you have someone, and this is by the way in the working events as well, or if it's a boss, and how and you see they have extremely low confidence by language, what I recommend you do is you wanna show them as much honorable respect as you possibly can. Because that makes them feel more comfortable around you at the very least. So you wanna focus on that respect non-verbal as opposed to the power non-verbal. So the second rule that we learned so far, is the T to T. Toes and torso. Incredibly important for that person. So if they're at your desk, and sort of seeing the desk and talking over your shoulder and talking a lot, so you roll your chair towards them, and make sure you're facing them, right, or even stand up and face them. That's non-verbally saying I'm with ya, you're not competing with my computer, I'm totally listening to you. We're gonna learn more non-verbal respectives in the next few hours. So in those cases, respect is even more important than those power moves. Yeah, great question. I do think in those terms like subordinate for example, do you think be that automatically makes you feel on the back foot that you're not as important to this person, perhaps? Yes, definitely, so labeling is so powerful. Remember how we talked very briefly yesterday about self-narratives, that we sort of tell a story about ourselves, we give ourselves label and we do everything to follow that story, this also happen in social situations, boss and subordinate. There's tons of psychological studies, where they randomly assigned certain people power positions, and certain people subordinate positions, and it's, and they tell them, you're the boss, you're the subordinate, but you're gonna work on this project together. You, same rules, just working as a team. It's amazing the boss is getting to this huge power plays, they weren't told that, just that label themselves makes them feel like oh, I'm in position of power, so yes labels are incredibly important, and the way you can disengage them is just being aware of it so self awareness of that label is really important to sort of disengage that automatic behavior that you can go into. I think labels are important indeed. I mean I don't know if you are aware of this in the global audience, but everybody here more or less is an American, you are American citizens. There's no such thing as a British citizen. We are subjects. And I fell very strongly about that. But how? And you know most countries, you are a citizen of that country, but the British are subjects. And it's, There's a label for it. Yeah, absolutely, and it doesn't have to immediately make you feel inferior to our war overlords, the Royal family. The name is just, it's ridiculous, but anyway that's my personal beef for today, you had a question. That's alright, we're gonna hear that too. Loraine asks, she's, or she says, when I get enthusiastic about things, my business for example, I get faster, and faster, and eventually run out of breath. Do you have any tips to try to combat this? Oh, I totally relate. So I also speed up, yesterday some of the creative life people were like slow down, slow down like I know I'm so excited, I just wanna talk fast. So I totally get it, breath is really important for you. You can also acknowledge this fact with the other person so you can say, sorry, when I get excited, I just wanna just, it just pours out of me. That actually can give them permission to be like, oh no I get it, or yeah oh my gosh, what did you say? So that can also slow you down and it's very authentic to say, this what I'm feeling, this is why it's coming out so fast. But breath is usually important, so when you are, if you are a fast talker, we're gonna talk about fast talkers later. Film your pitch, and practice deliberately taking a breath after each sentence. Even if it's slow, it's gonna be really slow and torturous for you, but it will get you in a habit of taking pause after each and every sentence, right? So it gets you in that habit, so that's what I want you to practice, after every single period you take a big breath. And that will get you in a muscle memory, that when you're in person, you always take that breath, again and it also will keep your voice low. Which has that added benefit of that. Now Shay Kay, again we will come to Sara in just a second, I'm going to ask this quickly, Shay Kay is obviously for Spain and arenas from Ukraine, obviously I'm from the UK. Shay Kay is asking how do accents influence our vocal path, and the impressions people get from it? So that's a really interesting question, so I haven't seen any research on the official way that accents affect people's impressions, but I know that low vocal power and people can understand your words, the accent actually doesn't influence the brain that much. What is much more important is the power behind the words. So practicing your breath, perhaps you wanna speak a little bit slower, because having an accent can't hurt to give them more comprehension, and that adds power to your voice, if you're not speaking very fast. But in terms of comprehension and in terms of influence, it doesn't have that big of a difference. You just wanna focus on that low vocal power, yeah that's really important if you have an accent. Sara, yes. Yeah I wanna talk a little bit, to ask you about slowing down and not being interrupted, a lot of the times when you're in social situations, people are really excited and so you start and you're like oh, I ran the sights of people, and you're even mid gesture right, and people are like, that's awesome, listening me talk about my app, I'm wondering if there are any non-verbal ways or verbal ways of handling interruptions. Yes it's horrible to be interrupted, it is the worst feeling. So typically I actually allow people to interrupt me, because I'm very curious as to read them. So for me personally I usually let them interrupt me, but if I want to get out my point, here's what you can do non-verbally, you can show them that you have this, when you do this with your hand, and your hands are up, you're speaking, when you're done you put your hand down. It is literally like a non-verbal baton, and you will see after a few sentences when you go like this they'll shut their mouth. Because, and they don't even realize that it's happening, but they've been cued to know that this means I'm talking, it's my turn. And then I'm done it's your turn. And they'll wait for you to do it, so it's a funny non-verbal cue that you can do, another thing, if you really don't wanna be interrupted, there's one other thing that you can try. You can, it does work, it just a little bit more socially aggressive, it is you can reach out, and touch them on the forearm. So I just wanna show you, just come up and show you how this works. Right so, I'm gonna stand here, so if I'm talking to you and you're interrupting, so I'm talking, I'm talking, go ahead, And yeah, and so I was just thinking, Actually let me explain this right, so that's how it works with the hand, is you can pull the hand up when you wanna talk, so go ahead and start talking, I'm gonna show you how I wanna interrupt you. Yeah so and I was working on this, Let me tell you, let me tell you. Right, you literally are raining in the conversation. And you're, it's a very, very light touch, but they will stop talking, right, if you really wanna get it across, so that's how you, it's how I do, this side. Yeah. Yeah. Are there any gender rules or barriers with that? Okay. We're gonna talk about the touch map today. The touch map. It's very exciting. On the touch map is the physically safe parts of someone's body that you can touch. I'll give you a little sneak peek, fingers to shoulder, the further up you get the arm, the more intimate the touch. So hand is the safest, as you go up you get closer to the torso, closer to a hug or a pat, so if you're gonna touch someone, hands is very safe, so you can also touch their hand, you can touch their forearm. I am very, I am a toucher, right, so I'm always, I'm like very into breaking the physical bounder, I don't know if you saw like the shaking here, I'm always like, yeah, like I almost went and hug him when he comes after the introduction. So I'm very careful, what you can do if you're a male, so this is for males stick with the hand and below the elbow. That's the safest place to be, don't even try above that, unless you're already friendly with them, and you can give a very light tip of the finger touch, and see if they pull their arm away. If they pull their arm away you take it back. If they leave it there and you're trying to interrupt them they can say, let me just tell you, right, so you watch and see if they pull their arm back, but always stay below the elbow. Women have much more flexibility. And we're gonna talk about how powerful a woman's touch is on the hand, forearm and shoulder. Women can get away with it much longer than a man. And women are typically interrupted more than men, so it all evens out in the end. Other questions from the chat room? We do have one, one that I try to go, I have lost to ask this, and I apologize for that, but they were basically saying, after you've created a bad impression, is there any way of going back and recreating a good one, and then sec two is saying, and how much does your dress grooming count for that very first impression? Woo. First impressions are very permanent, unfortunately. Once someone makes an impression in their brain, it literally gets cemented, and everything that happens after becomes a corollary to that rule, there's a couple of studies by Frank Berniere that I talked about yesterday, they were he actually saw that it was almost like a rule gets a log and it's formed in their head, okay. Sara is friendly, she writes content. That's the rule for Sara. And when she meets you again, or here she meets you again, they add like little bullets underneath that law. So the one thing that you can do is add way more positive volts, let's say you mad ea bad first impression that first one is you know, Rachel is a little awkward, she does tech, right, maybe that's your rule, in that person's head. What you can do is add a bunch of positive bullets after that, and also be very transparent about what happened to that first day, that can help people at least intellectually say you can say you know, last time we met I was feeling so sick, I'm so so sorry about that. You can say that, that will help the add flexibility to that rule, so being very transparent. Everything we talk about is adding transparency. Add transparency, the more honest you can be, the less are the flies are gonna have, remember vulnerability is a good thing. People like to see have vulnerability. And the second part of that question was about. Your clothes and how that makes your first impression. Yes, clothes, we're gonna talk about on day three, and we're gonna talk about the psychology of color, we're also gonna talk about getting rid of blocks with clothes, any piece of clothing that you feel uncomfortable in, throw it, don't throw it away, donate it, right, donate it, because if you are feeling uncomfortable in your shoes, that pain shows on your face. Right, so any time you feel uncomfortable in your clothes you wanna get rid of it, you wanna make sure that your clothes feel the most comfortable, and also that you feel good in them. I know that takes a while, it's hard to find those perfect clothes but it is worth it. As they said it's worth going through the pain, that you need to make that really, really good first impression. So I wanted to briefly explain what you can do while you're in the next few minutes, before the next segment, I want you to non-verbally script your pitch. So in the next few minutes I want you to look at your pitch I want you to make a bullet for each part, each sentence should be a different bullet, and I want you to think about what are the different things that you can non-verbally add into your pitch, for each bullet, and then after the segment, we're gonna talk about how we can do that with examples in the audience, so you can see how it works in action, but you practice that in the next few minutes, that will really help you, fear how it works. And there is a chart in your free bonus material called, I think it's called script your pitch, or the elevator pitch, there's the first column is the verbal, so you wanna put your first verbal bullet, and the next column is your non-verbal, that's where you can list out the different non-verbal options for use. That's what I want you to do over the next few minutes, we're gonna talk about how to make a killer first impression we come back, so I want you to non-verbally script your pit that will help you in the next segment.

Class Description

How strong is your first impression? In this course, body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards explains how to use non-verbal communication to become the most memorable person in any room.

Vanessa will show you how to:

  • Read people by gauging their visual cues
  • Use body language to your advantage in meetings
  • How to tell if people are lying.
  • Voice modulation so you can impress clients in phone conversations
  • "Statement Analysis" to help you write powerful emails, website copy, and business cards 
This Power of Body Language course will positively affect every part of your professional life.  By the end of the course, you'll be able to identify exactly what impression your verbal and nonverbal language is giving, and how to increase it.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Baseline Coding System Chart

Lying Red Flags

Positive Trait List

The Nonverbal Elevator Pitch

Laws of Body Language Answer Key

The Nonverbal Sales Pitch

Trivia Answer Key

Citation List

Elevator PItch Clinic

Laws of Body Language Worksheet

Self Diagnosis Chart


Body Language - Trivia

The Microexpression Chart

30 Day Action Plan.pdf

Action Steps and Homework


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


R. P. Getz

I loved this course! I've learned so much and Vanessa did a terrific job making it easy and fun. I loved learning that by paying more attention to body language, I'm becoming a better listener (and picking up on stuff I never caught before). ;) I recommend the class highly to anyone and everyone as all can benefit from being more aware of others and yourself!! My hard earned education $$ well spent here. :) Cheers to Vanessa Van Edwards and Creative Live!


This was an absolutely fantastic course, it would be a huge understatement to say this course was worth the money. Vanessa provided tremendously accessible, highly actionable training useful for both social and professional environments. I couldn't recommend this course highly enough, and am heading now to purchase her next one! Thanks so much Vanessa and Creative Live, this is the course I've been hoping to find for years.

susan kinnel

I just found myself applauding in my bedroom as this program was wrapped up, Vanessa is fabulous! This was money well spent, loved every moment of it! I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information, and soon felt blown away by how many micro expressions I could spot during the clips she showed. I was so impressed with how easy it was to pick this info up due to Vanessa's enthusiastic delivery. YAY vanessa!