My writing elevator pitch


World-class customer service arts advice and training for restaurant and hotel owners and managers plus servers — for over 25 years.  

elevator pitch

My writing elevator pitch.


Imagine you walk into an elevator, and standing there in front of you is the perfect prospect. You’ve hardly any time to win them over before they get out. Here’s what I’d say if I had to dump 31 years of writing know-how on to some poor aspiring writer or business owner.


Broadly, I follow the prescriptions laid down by George Orwell in his essay, “Politics and the English Language”


1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print. (e.g.) “At the end of the day” rather than “in the end”; “Put it to the acid test” rather than “test thoroughly”.


2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. (e.g.) ” buy ” rather than ” Purchase “; ” wrote” rather than ” authored “, “changed”, not “transitioned”.


3. If you can cut a word out, always do so. (e.g.) “Miss out on” should be “miss”; “male personnel” should be “men”; “for free” is free.


4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.


A biblical example would be “Abel was slain by Cain” becomes “Cain slew Abel”.


Or, from a typical business document, “We are concerned that should this recommendation be turned down, the charity’s revenues will be adversely affected” should be “We believe you must act on this recommendation to maintain the charity’s revenues”


5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. (There is more dire jargon in business than anywhere else). (e.g.) “Interface” is better as “talk with”; “your core competencies” is better as “what you do best”.


6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


There are other rules for good writing, many formulated by an American called Rudolph Flesch, who spent a lot of time in the 1940s researching what makes writing easier to read.


The simplest is, make your sentences as short as possible. The easiest sentence to read is only eight words long. Any sentence more than 32 words long is quite hard for people to take in.


It seems that because most people are either lazy or plain stupid, they tend to forget what happened at the beginning of the sentence by the time they get to the end.


The same principle applies to paragraphs.


If you read a writer like Hemingway you will notice his words, sentences and paragraphs are remarkably short. In any piece of popular fiction or a popular newspaper, this is true. They are written for people who are not clever, or not concentrating.


There’s a gizmo on Microsoft word that gives you a readability rating based on Flesch’s research.


That was a long Elevator ride, wasn’t it?




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Eric Valdivieso has over 25 years of sales and showmanship experience, including 5 years of film and theatre training and 9 years of table service, in high-paced and competitive environments. 

He helps restaurant and hotel owners and managers cultivate experiences that people talk about, and seek out. 

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Jonathan Tisch

CEO Loews Hotels & Co-Owner of the New York Giants

“Over the last few years, my family and I have had the pleasure to watch and enjoy, as Eric Valdivieso, nightly deliver a dining experience that is truly enjoyable. From the moment that we are welcomed by Eric at the door, to sitting at the bar and enjoying the suggestions and company to an amazing dinner, it is always one of our favorite nights. And Eric graciously and seamlessly choreographs this entire experience, without breaking a sweat. Eric truly understands hospitality, and what makes a great restaurant so great.”