Are You Prepared to Pitch?

It's been called an "elevator pitch", a 60-second sound bite, and a "core message in a minute" to name a few.
Wikipedia defines it simply as: "a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition."
Simply put your "elevator pitch", whether that is about your book, your business, your ministry, etc. is something that you should be able to deliver in the time span of an elevator ride. You have approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. Ready set go!
Unfortunately, many people aren't ready to go when the opportunity appears.
Whatever term you use, you need to have your pitch ready. This isn't a "shoot from the hip" moment. It's a well-thought out, well-rehearsed, very concise creation. Not only should you have one, but if I so much as bump you, it should come rolling out of your mouth, effortlessly, flawlessly and compellingly. It should be so ingrained in you that it is a part of you.
You never know when you are going to meet a person of influence who could be your next step to reach your goal. Whether you find yourself standing next to them in the elevator, in the bathroom, or at a business function, it will happen. It. Will. Happen. The question is, will you be ready?    
I find most authors aren't.
One of the first things I usually ask an author is to tell me about their book. That's a great introduction for the "elevator pitch". You should be able to deliver it via a phone call or email. It should be concise and compelling. Because you have to remember, you have about 5 seconds to really get my attention...or anyone else's.
What I usually get when I ask that question is a rambling scenario. Or what I call "the long version." Somewhere in the first five minutes, I usually have to stop the conversation and ask for the short version. What I mean is, "please get to the point." I want to know about the book, not the life story. At least not yet. In an elevator, you don't get that chance to repitch, start over, or shorten your version. The opportunity is blown.
So much better to have your short-version ready to go and roll it out. Hopefully, you will have engaged the person's attention enough that they may ask for a longer version. Or at least a business card.