Have you ever been alone in an enclosed place with someone of authority and you suddenly feel the urge to blurt out the concise details of a project you’ve been working on, in the hopes that said person will give you validation and money for your brilliance? …yeah, us neither.
Nevertheless, SMU enthusiastically prepares us all for the infamous Elevator Pitch we may find ourselves in down the road (or elevator shaft) in our working lives. While some of us encounter this stressful exercise in some majors’ mods, ALL of us go through it in the University Core module: Management Communication (COMM101).
20 minutes: limited information given – C suite position designation and scenarios thrust upon you – panicky research on your laptop – and then bam! – 2 minutes to embarrass yourself in front of your professor, classmates, and recording camcorder.
Please tell us we weren’t the only ones who wished we had downed a few shots of tequila at Ice-Cold Beer (SMU’s now defunct bar) before going for THE PITCH!
The elevator pitch is designed to ‘break the ice’ and lead to deeper dialogue about yourself, your organisation, your product, or a specific idea. As the name suggests, the speech is supposed to be brief and succinct enough to put forth in the time it takes to travel between floors. It takes a mere 30 seconds to make an impression on someone new and which way it goes – positive or negative – is a very daunting thought to entertain.
(source: Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong)
Fortunately for us, Holiday Inn Express has a few savvy hacks up their sleeves on how to master the art of elevator pitching, in celebration of their ‘Talk in an Elevator Day’ happening on 29 July. With this in mind and in the spirit of ‘Talk in an Elevator Day’ on 29 July - dedicated to encouraging the stepping out of comfort zones and making small talk with strangers - Holiday Inn Express® has these suggestions to help master the art of the elevator pitch to create an impactful impression straight away:
1. Refine your delivery for maximum impact
Take the time to hone your speech. Knowing it well not only keeps nerves at bay – it also makes you look and sound polished, as well as professional. Be careful to sound natural though, you don’t want to come off sounding like an automated answering machine.
2. Spark their interest
Have an interesting and relevant titbit about the industry? Share it! Speaking about relatable issues facilitates a connection, and acts like a fishing line. Get people hooked on the conversation and then reel them in. For you to pull this off, you’ll have to be conversant and up to date of happenings in the industry, so be prepared for the possibility that your audience asks related questions.
3. Show how you can be of value
You know yourself best and you know how unique you are. Explain what makes you unique, highlighting what else you can offer that makes you stand apart from the rest. Be careful to sound modest though, because nobody likes a boastful prick – not even your mother. Another possible strategy is to enquire about a project they’re working on, and either suggest a tip or talk about what aspects of it you admire. Now you’re looking like a great catch!
4. Reel them in
You get off the lift and know they saw your potential – now what? Don’t let your great networking skills go to waste: Get savvy with professional online networking tools and invite the other person to connect with you, opening doors to future opportunities. A breezy greeting to remind them of your meeting will suffice, don’t scare your new connection with 500 smileys and a lunch invitation right off the bat.
(source: Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong)
The tl;dr version of what Holiday Inn Express puts forth to do well in situations like these is to:
· Show empathy by highlighting an issue the other person can relate to
· ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if…?’ Suggest an objective solution you can follow through on
· Differentiate yourself by explaining what it is that makes you and your offering unique
· Don’t forget to pursue a relationship! Request to connect again in the future
And if you ever wanted a little practice before your MC class or an elevator ride with a potential business contact, Holiday Inn Express encourages students to visit their Great Room the next time you stay at a Holiday Inn Express hotel. You’ll get to try your hand at creating a lasting impression on a new acquaintance or fellow guest at The Great Room, a comfortable space with an open-plan restaurant and lounge area that all centrally located Holiday Inn Express hotels encompass. If you stop by in the morning, you get a free Express Start Breakfast or Grab & Go option too!
All the best with your elevator pitches – now go ace your MC mod and/or your business idea!