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permaculture Elevator Speech  RSS feed

 
Bill Kearns
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Location: E Washington steppe
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So there you are, just boarded an elevator up some twenty floors to a Permaculture meet-up and another couple of passengers get aboard.  You realize that it's the (mayor, governator, senator, ...) and her/his entourage.  Once the door closes, the (whoever) turns to you, says hi, and asks about your day.  You're pumped!  The perfect opportunity to broach Permaculture and you just happen to be there for that purpose!

You say hi and mention that you're headed up for a Permaculture gathering.  You get the usual quizzical look and the expected, "Permaculture, what's that?"

You want to say something that will make Permaculture stick in the (dignitary's) mind, hopefully forever!  Just the right words ... and you've only got that 30 seconds of elevator time.  What'cha gonna say? 

How can you convey all that is Permaculture (or at least allude to it's vast relevance) in just a single sentence or two?  What can you say that will make this person's ears perk up a little and leave them wanting to know more?  Maybe ask a question or two before the elevator doors open? 


This is a question not only for chance encounters on elevators, but opportunities with reporters, film crews, co-workers, and just all those people out there we keep meeting that seem to be of like mind but have never heard the word Permaculture before. 

And an "elevator speech" is a technique we used to attract the attention of corporate officers when we needed sponsorship of a new idea or a champion for an initiative.  It's meant more to stimulate interest and get questions than to actually sell the idea/initiative.  It's a way to get noticed and remembered.  That's what we want when we spread the word about Permaculture.

I've got one ... a quick, pithy statement sure to get a question or two: 

"What's Permaculture?  Why, Permaculture is the art of living in concert with the earth instead of in conflict with the earth."

The conversation could go almost anywhere from here, but hopefully this statement will pique their interest and questions will flow.

There's always room for improvement and I'm looking for ideas on revising/changing my approach.  Any ideas?  What's your elevator speech?
 
John Polk
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"We are building a patch work of food and fuel independent farms around the country."
 
tel jetson
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we're making you irrelevant
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I want to spread the word as much as anyone else so this thread sparked my interest.

When giving speeches or presentations I always try to give a small handout with the key points, links to more info, etc. 

In my experience most of us do not listen. 

I want to think that I am a great orator and that everyone wants to hear what I have to say - but they don't.  People just ask to be polite but they don't really hear what you are saying. 

Perhaps having a small business card with a few links printed to sites such as this, and maybe promoting some sustainable local businesses, would be a way to get the word out - on recycled paper of course. 

I am always surprised at how many people do not know about our, very well run, local market that sells sustainably grown meats and veggies. 

 
Willy Kerlang
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It's a way of growing enough healthy, natural food for everbody, more cheaply than even commercial farms can do it.
 
paul wheaton
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"A collection of techniques to raise 12 times more food per acre than the best conventional techniques. Without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  It can even eliminate the need for irrigation." 

 
Steven Baxter
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" You could make some money..."
 
Suzy Bean
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Really liked this woman's one-liner: it's about designing how we live to have "the stability and the resilience of a natural ecosystem." http://www.globalonenessproject.org/videos/Permaculture_101?gclid=COGBj6qigakCFRNrgwodvW7LTg
 
Bill Kearns
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Thank you all for your replies.   I fully agree with SouthCarolina regarding the difficulties in conveying an important message to folks whose attention may be elsewhere ... which is why the "one liner" needs to be compelling.   I hear many of you suggesting that the core message of Permaculture is methods of growing food?  Paul's message is something to perk your ears up and I'll bet he can back up his claims AND keep his audience entertained! 

Suzy_Bean, I especially liked your video of Penny Livingston ... so I copied down exactly what she said, then massaged it a little to perhaps make it flow:   

[size=10pt]Permaculture is a design science, rooted in careful observation of natural systems, that aims to create methods of human living that have the stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.[/size]


Still needs some work for being a written "one-liner", and I really couldn't speak it exactly as written with a straight face, but the essence is there.  I like the progression of thought.  I'll need to flesh it out some into a "story" I can tell quickly and succinctly and maybe practice it in my head for a while. 

 
Troy Rhodes
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After the initial question, "Oh, what are you working on there?"

This is permaculture.  (pause)

The permaculture people may actually save the world.  (pause)

They design agriculture and other things, as if we were staying here.  You know, on the earth.

 
paul wheaton
master steward
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I think most messages will fall on deaf ears.  I think politicians are big on big money, but, you know, without actually saying "money".

 
Bill Kearns
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solarguy2003 wrote:
They design agriculture and other things, as if we were staying here.  You know, on the earth.


I love it!  "as if we were staying here ..."  Lot's of punch in that statement!

Although my natural inclination is to agree with you Paul, I keep harkening back to Darren Doherty stressing "Permaculture is about positivism".  Continuing to tell the Permaculture story "out there", even to politicians, is just another way of keeping the faith!

 
              
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another way:

Are you still working on the xyz problem?

I know someone who can take care of that for half the cost in a quarter the time, but they didn't think you'd be interested.

(long pause)

I guess they were right
or
Who do I talk to and when can they meet?


The problem with governments/businesses, they make money perpetuating situations. You may be barking up the wrong tree.
 
R Hasting
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Location: Mineola, Texas
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tel jetson wrote:
we're making you irrelevant


As much as that might be true, or ought to be true, it isn't a way to make friends.

Conflict is never a part of an elevator pitch, I don't think

Hold your friends close, your enemies closer.
 
R Hasting
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think most messages will fall on deaf ears.  I think politicians are big on big money, but, you know, without actually saying "money".




Hey, I have an idea!  Let's figure out a way to make this about money so we can make the politicians listen.
On the other hand...
 
Paul Cereghino
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"We are an international network of project managers.  We are designing an ecological technology to replace the failing industrial economy."


Not all of the policy elite are nieve or uneducated.  Some of them know the score.  They just don't have any solutions they believe they can actually implement.

The goal is not to have a snappy come-back to power, but to selectively identify allies that can actually help implement a regenerative society.  For our part, if we want to play, rather than be the peanut gallery to decline, we need to actually design solutions that con be implemented by a society to make itself regenerative.  The momentary status of the individual in the elevator is of little consequence.  We need many relationships in all levels of social institutions.  If you are at all embedded in society, you have probably passed by 10 opportunities to work on your elevator speech today.  Half your elevator speeches may not use the word 'permaculture'.  Don't follow power... create power.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
The goal is not to have a snappy come-back to power, but to selectively identify allies that can actually help implement a regenerative society... Don't follow power... create power.


Love this, Paul, thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
For our part, if we want to play, rather than be the peanut gallery to decline, we need to actually design solutions that con be implemented by a society to make itself regenerative. 


Design and implement. 


Planning and doing. 




 
kirk dillon
Posts: 61
Location: Maple City Michigan
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LOVE the quote by Troy Rhodes. I hope you don't mind that I added and modified it a bit here.
If you only have 30 seconds or so, then I think the main objective would be to get peoples attention. Tell them about all the things it will solve. If you get their interest then they will probably allow you more time to explain "how" permaculture solves all those problems...... So here's my proposed "speech".


Permaculture is the only thing that can really create "Utopia" here on earth. It will bring people together from every location, race, religion and political view. It will save money, save resources, save water, increase food production and quality, increase security, increase health and reduce health costs, reduce fossil fuel use, reduce everybody's carbon footprint, control erosion, clean the environment and clean the atmosphere.
It's a design for living as if we were going to stay here, you know.........."on the earth"......"forever"........


If that doesn't get them interested then nothing will.....
If you get more time you can explain "how"permaculture solves all these problems. If they or you don't have any time to spare, you hand them a business card with a pile of resources and information links on it and ask them to join the revolution/ movement/ awakening.

Hmmmmm........I may just print up some cards with the speech on the front and resources on the back to carry around with me.

 
Lisa Paulson
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I agree about not wanting to lead with anything alienating or excluding anyone in an invitation to learn more or discuss the topic of permaculture . I am not sure people who have no idea about the depth of permaculture would not see leading with the idea of ' creating utopia here on earth ' , it might be viewed as so pie in the sky and off the cuff from someone they don't even know that they would quietly exit the elevator without engaging a response other than a friendly nod or smile . Most executives on an elevator do not have time to draw out a conversation with someone who has no credibility with them unless they say something relevent to them , though don't get me wrong , I personally I am not far off in seeing it as a means to create a utopia myself . I just don't think that mindset that attained their jobs dealing with facts, bottom lines and such as grasping it in the elevator speech. I think the idea is to craft it tailored to their executive postions and priorities, the bottom line of resource managment they understand , from my experience working in urban planning as a consultant. I would craft it from that perspective and let their own exploration further lead them to appreciate the farther reaching and deeper aspects and facets. If you took the same statement and conveyance of the excellant points offered by kirk dillon and restructured it to say something like the following, it might catch their attention and basically is exactly the same packaged a little differently :

"Permaculture is a multifaceted design strategy rooted in careful observation of natural systems, that aims to create methods of human living that have the stability and resilience of natural ecosystems . Its objective is to save money, optimize resources such as soil and water, increase food production and quality, increase security, increase health and reduce health costs, reduce fossil fuel use and our carbon footprint, control erosion and clean the environment by promoting better stewardship by all people networking to assume responsibility together ."

Further you could take what Bill Kearns quoted and work that in too as I borrowed from as well , and still appeal to the same types of people in municipal management positions . It is not about what we would like to say or throw in their faces to get attention, it is what offers them a reason to explore it further from their own professional interests and perspectives.

The idea of a flyer of business card is not a bad one because it might be something they would look at and actually take the time at another point to learn more if they had some reference point. I wonder if some shared design could be crafted on an international printing company website like vistaprint that could be a template used by people here and could be customized ?
 
kirk dillon
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Location: Maple City Michigan
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Not exiting the elevator quietly is kind of the idea. I would want them to say "What"??"
A statement so "pie-in-the-sky" that they would just have to ask how is that possible?? Get a dialog started and give them as much info as they are willing to take. I agree with you about some type of community flyer or business cards or something. I think it would be a good way to promote permaculture in general.
 
            
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flyers printed on toilet papier of course. they can say 'grow your own food wipe your own' ...or 'join the quiet revolution!' If i got that message in an elevator i'd be sold on change. If it was hand made t.p. from nettles... it be all that much more worth talking about. hmm
 
Julia Winter
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Permaculture is a way to make more food with less work and less inputs, all while increasing diversity, healing the land and sequestering carbon.

Permaculture achieves this by observing Nature and working with her. People have restored degraded land all over the planet using these techniques.
 
Mike Hagar
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Permaculture is a design science originally focused on creating Permenently Sustainable Agriculture... Perma-Culture. It goes beyond organic gardening by using the natural interactions of supportive plants or Polyculture, to enrich the soil, minimize irrigation and deter pests without using oil based fertilizers or pesticides. The best part is that it can be scaled from a small urban/suburban yard to restoring large farms that have been depleted from overuse. As we all know, climate change is real, the midwest farm bread basket is drying out, our water aquifers are being depleted and contaminated and food prices continue to rise. Permaculture projects all over the world are proving that there are sustainable solutions to all of these problems. If you are interested just Google Permaculture.

See ya. Gotta go.
 
Ann Torrence
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We are making Gardens of Eden in our back-yards and farms that are less work and locally sourced. Want to know more? Want a fig?

 
Josh J.J. Jones
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"Permaculture is the act of being an ethical steward of our environment, by purposefully designing efficient ecosystems, while being compassionate to our neighbors."
 
Charles Tarnard
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I think you avoid the term permaculture until you have their attention. Permaculture is too big. If the first thing I read when encountering permaculture was about composting toilets and going off grid I'd have been out of here so fast the internet would have spun. Now I'm figuring out how to be able do it myself.

I'd find an aspect of permaculture that's easy to get behind and move from there.

For a government official it might be a program to make maintaining a food forest on public property a community service project for prisoners. For a business owner it might be discussing what plants could be installed in various places to lower his HVAC costs, or creating rooftop garden that could be leased to a managing farmer. Maybe sneak the word permaculture in when you have his/ her attention.
 
Jd Gonzalez
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Me- Why, Permaculture is the process of greening* our, (town, city, district, province, county, state) [insert appropriate land mass depending on title of politician] using systems of perennial plants** that will make our [insert land mass here] cleaner, healthier, more attractive to visitors, and provide a surplus of food as a by-product.


elected officer- "Well, here is my card, please call me I would like to see what you can do with our [insert land mass here]!

*every politician wants to be seen as supporting anything GREEN.
** everyone wants plants to beautify their area and that will come up every year.

KEEP IT SIMPLE and POSITIVE-
 
Markus Laumann
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I'm still new to permaculture so I'm not very familiar with the subject, but if I had to summarize the feeling I get when watching geoff lawton's videos I wouldn't use the big words. Stability, resilience, collection of techniques, observation, conventional, sustainable, science, methods... These are very descriptive and accurate words but it feels like too much to process for an elevator conversation. You have to pull them in with some humor and mental imagery. Stress the goal, not the process so they can understand what they get out of it. I work in IT and sometimes (most of the time) being accurate is the fastest way to confuse or deter the layman. Here's my attempt at talking to strangers...

Them:
Permaculture, what's that?

Me:
Remember that movie Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory? Specifically the part where everything in the room was made of candy? Imagine that's your yard or a public park, but instead of candy you're eating fruits and vegetables and herbs straight from the land all year round. Permaculture is the gardening judo that makes this possible anywhere. Here's my card. Call me when you're ready to eat the freshest and healthiest meal of your life.
 
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