Pitch perfect in the elevator
Stuck in the elevator with the top management? Awkward moments call for clever measures! Our expert, Shital Kakkar Mehra, shares tips to help you out of the situation
Have you ever bumped into your company's CEO in an elevator ride and realised that you had nothing smart to say? Or, when he tried initiating a conversation, you were tongue-tied? Legend says that Steve Jobs' favourite question to Apple employees in the office elevator was, “So, what are you working on?” leaving them petrified for days after the ride! While entrepreneurs and salespersons are familiar with the ‘elevator pitch', others need it when meeting with the big boss at internal networking events or in the elevator.
A COMPELLING ELEVATOR PITCH
Although extroverts display the ability to effortlessly ‘wing it', maybe with stand-up comedy, an elevator pitch is not impromptu
– you have to prepare for an hour to create an impact in a minute. To prevent being caught off-guard, prepare a crisp response to ‘what sets you apart from others in the company'. Using these time-tested topics, add a compelling nugget that makes you memorable:
Your work: Mention your name, department, and a recent accomplishment that highlights your abilities. For instance, you could say, “Hello! I'm Arati Gupta from the marketing team. I am currently working on the latest advertisement campaign for our successful xyz.” The boss will remember you, as in his mind you get linked to a profit-making product.
Your CEO’s achievements: This always works! Highlighting your CEO's achievements can help you make an instant connect with him. This also piques his interest in knowing you better, providing you an opportunity to converse with him and make a mark.
For instance, you could start by saying, “Yesterday, your speech at our leadership academy was very informative and thought-provoking.”
Make a social connect: Conduct small talk to create a social relationship that stretches beyond your work. Some subjects that you could talk about could be your boss's hobbies, a common interest, or your similar background that may include the same school, college, or hometown.
This is an easy conversation to make and there is a lot that can be shared when you have a common background. It also helps leave a positive impact.
Rehearse: Visualise this meeting, focus on your performance and rework, if needed. Keep it conversational-style and concise (CEOs meet several new people in their work day). Lastly, speak with energy and enthusiasm, displaying your love for your job.
Small talk can help create a social relationship that stretches beyond your work
Shital Kakkar Mehra Practitioner of Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol in India