[05.27.10]
19 great comments!

The Elevator Pitch You Are Not Ready To Deliver

stopwatch, elevator pitch, job search, career

Here’s something we’re all pretty good at doing.  Giving a prepared elevator speech.  Answering a question we know we’re likely to get.  I say “pretty good” because it is all relative.

Some are poorly built for “prepared” as the pressure to deliver that perfect answer builds over time.  And when you are called to speak.  When the big question comes that you’ve written a novel on, you freeze.  Or sound awfully rehearsed.  Not confident.

One of the keys, of course, creating a great elevator pitch.  One that you can deliver with confidence.

But today’s focus is on being ready for the possibility of a surprise opportunity.

You step on the elevator in an office building on interview day and come face to face with the CEO or another senior executive.  Of course you would have to recognize them first. And not over-react.

It could also be the department manager that you met briefly but have not interviewed with just yet.

So now you are actually on an elevator with a decision maker or influencer and you have 30 seconds.  Or less.  Now what?

Well, the reality is that 99% of us haven’t practiced this speech.  And it is unlike the one we practice in the mirror where we are sharing our background with a room of fellow networkers.  But I will say the correct approach here is like the one on one conversations we have at networking events.  The ones where we ask a few good questions, share a few key strengths and make sure that at least one memorable aspect of our lives is shared.

And there’s not much else you can do in 30 seconds.  The clock is ticking.

A few tips about taking advantage of the surprise opportunity:

  1. Don’t delay.  If you truly have 30 seconds or less, don’t blow the first 10 seconds.  Try to engage immediately.
  2. Don’t “chicken out”.  If you assume you’ll be bothering them with a conversation, you’ve already lost.  Of course, there are decent reasons to not interrupt (they are in another conversation, are on the phone or are otherwise overtly unavailable).
  3. Be confident, friendly and respectful.  Someone they will see as worth their time.  Personally and professionally.

So, how do you fill up 30 seconds?  It goes fast!

First, introduce yourself and tell them why you are doing so:

“Good morning, I’m Tim Tyrell-Smith.  I’m interviewing today for the open marketing position.” (10 seconds including their response)

Second, ask a short, thoughtful question that shows you know something about the company or hiring criteria and can be answered in just a few words:

“Kim, what is the one key improvement you are looking for in the marketing department?”  (15 seconds including their answer)

Third, close with recognition of their time and the brief opportunity:

“Enjoyed the quick chance to say hello, Kim.  Thanks and hope to share my experience with you in more detail.  I grow brands and build profit with the best of them.” (5 seconds, a reinforcement of his desired improvement from above)

If you do it right, here’s what might happen.

  • Your 30 seconds becomes five minutes as the conversation spills out into the lobby.
  • A curious executive continues the conversation as he/she walks you to the HR department.
  • You get a handshake, a smile and a nice story to tell in your interviews ( your chance meeting).
  • An engaged executive comments to the hiring manager later about the the sharp candidate they met that morning.
  • Nothing.  Unfortunately not every executive acts on an encounter like this.

The key is to make the interaction efficient, confident and conversational.

And whether you are on an elevator, an escalator or standing in line at the cafeteria.

Remember, time is short.

Photo Credit


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | | |
Categories: Marketing Materials

2008 - 2016 © Tim's Strategy | Privacy Policy