Prepping for Warren Buffett: The Art of the Elevator Pitch (Videos)

The Oracle of Omaha, the world’s richest man. (Photo: Stephanie Kuykenal/Bloomberg News/Landov)

It’s 1:33am in Omaha and I can’t sleep.

Much like pre-Santa jitters as a 7-year old, I’m so excited to potentially meet Warren Buffett tomorrow for the 1st time that my little reptile brain won’t turn off. Ridiculous? Perhaps, but he (Warren, not Santa) is perhaps the greatest investor the US has ever produced.

So what do you say to the world’s richest man if you, by some miracle, end up standing at the urinal next to him? You better know in advance or you’ll sound like a Hannah Montana fan.

This is why learning to elevator pitch — how to deliver your message is 60 seconds or less — is one of the most important skills to develop if you ever plan on interacting with real players and demi-gods like the Oracle of Omaha…

Why? One example: there are 10,000+ people camping in the rain overnight just to attempt to meet Warren when he walks into the annual shareholder meeting tomorrow morning. 10,000 people.

Here are two examples of my elevator pitches, both related to the book.

The first was impromptu answer to “what is your name and what do you do?”, and the latter was filmed late one night for my new page on German Amazon.com.

For meeting VIPs in crowded settings, the goal should be to do 3 things in an introduction of no more than 60 seconds:

1st. Establish credibility. Cite 1-2 examples of social proof like media or association with reputable companies/organizations. Do not speak quickly during an elevator pitch. Slow and calm.

2nd. Make it clear you are not looking for money (unless you are) but have something of interest to discuss after much research, and then ask how you can follow up in a less hectic environment. Give them your card with below #3 handwritten on it.

3nd. Mention something very, very hard to forget about you that separates you from the rest. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with your reason for wanting to meet them. For me, tango is my default. I’ll close with something like: “Just so you remember, as I know you’ll meet a million people today, I’m the world record holder in the tango. Happy to give you and Astrid a lesson sometime if the stars align.” Referring to this odd fact will be important when you follow up.

If you meet them at an event or around other people, do not follow up within the next 3 days, as everyone else will. I like to give at least one week and then cite the bolded reason in the previous sentence as my reason for waiting.

Enjoy the below videos, and check out the timing on both 😉

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Odds and Ends:

I’ll be doing a 90-minute Q&A May 8th at the SanFran MusicTech Summit, and the interviewer is the very cool and clever founder of world-famous CDBaby (look at “statistics” here), Derek Sivers.

The German edition of 4HWW just came out, and I LOVE the cover. ‘Nuff said.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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110 Replies to “Prepping for Warren Buffett: The Art of the Elevator Pitch (Videos)”

  1. Hi Tim!

    Your German is good, sehr deutlich mitt keine amerikanische Akzent. However, the backlighting makes it look like you shot this in someone’s apartment without any lighting prep at all. Can’t you afford a professional cameraman/videographer? Don’t you have any friends who are good with a camera? Please tell me you didn’t set a camera up on a portable tripod and shot this yourself. Of all the interesting and exotic places you’ve been is the inside of a nondescript apartment really the best backdrop to shoot an add like this? I would of had you in a tuxedo on a dance floor taking a break from dancing the tango with the most beautiful girl in Buenos Aires. The end of your pitch would be the girl asking you “Tim ballea conmigo!” and you say “Entschuldigung, ich muss nicht die Damen warten lassen!” And then start dancing the tango again.

    My advise–re-shoot this and delete the first one. Replace this promo with one that you can be proud of, much like I would replace an old picture on Facebook with a new one. Seneca would tell you the same if he lived in our times (“…thus men are often judged more by their appearance then by their words or deeds”).

    Alles Gutes!

    Stewart Out

    1. Hahaha… thanks, Stewart. Yep, I had to shoot this one last-minute using a digital hand-held camera. I know it shows. Next time, I’ll actually make a production out of it. There will be better videos coming!

      Alles mit Mass und Ziel 😉

      Tim

  2. Tim,

    I am freaking out.

    Next Tuesday I will be presenting my business idea at a poster session during a conference with 500 potential investors. As a college freshman, I have no idea what to do. I believe in my business idea and that it will work, but I am not sure what rules I need to follow in the business world.

    How do I make this conference a success?

    -Zack

  3. I can confirm what David wrote October 16th, 2008,12:01, i.e. in the German amazon video your American accent is not evident at all, and that it indeed sounds a little bit French.

    I would add that in the first few lines you sound a little Dutch (makes sense, since it’s a language that has both English and German influences), while some bits and pieces are nearly indistinguishable German later on.

    It would be interesting to hear by how much your German may have improved by now, nearly 4 years later – perhaps you could add an updated video to “Der 4-Stunden-Körper” on amazon…. “Kleine Ursache, grosse Wirkung” : )

  4. Good advice above, thank you.. Pointing out a big typo:

    In the list of three things to get across in a 60 second meeting

    you list

    1st, 2nd, 3nd (Obviously it should be 3rd)

    I think it matters as you as you are making such clear points about communication.

  5. That’s the first time I listened to you speaking German :D. Ich hoffe es ist viel besser geworden im Laufe der letzten paar Jahren. Well that’s that! Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi Tim!

    You write extremely well…one thing amused me…what is the risk of following up within the next 3 days?

    Best regards

    Sumana

  7. Great post! I just left my job in investments to start my pet sitting company and I totally fumbled on my elevator pitch yesterday. Not happening again after reading this post.