Develop a first class Elevator speech
Your Elevator Speech is what you tell people when they ask you the usual question – ‘And… what do you do?’ The idea here is that you have just a few seconds to speak before people arrive at their floor in the elevator. During that time you have to grab their attention and show interest in them as well. Mine could be ‘I motivate sales teams to produce double their allocated targets. What business are you in?’ If that doesn’t grab their attention then they are not in business and therefore not my target market.
The, ‘What do you do?’ question is the sort of question that gets asked at parties, business gatherings and when you get stuck in a lift (after the first 20 minutes of sheer panic). At more important business gatherings one would often get asked ‘What are you in?’ rather than ‘What do you do?’ on the basis that more senior business people would obviously be at the top of their company so the question really means ‘Are you in industry, a profession or politics etc.’
When I am asked this question, my professional colleagues tell me that I should have that ‘Elevator Speech’ ready. I am not so sure. I have one of course and I have, from time to time, used it to great effect but recently I have become more circumspect.
Some years ago I took Robert Fulghum’s (www.robertfulghum.com) suggestion and answered the question with a single word; ’Janitor’ or ‘Cook’ or ‘Babysitter’ on the basis that it was quite hard to tie down exactly what I do in just a few words and I seemed to be doing more of these things during the day than anything else.
Now I have a single word that always prompts some sort of discussion; ‘Author’.