Let’s look at this, how often do you talk to people you just met in the elevator, is the first question about what they do for a living? Personally, I imagine you are much more likely to stare at the numbers of the floors passing as you go up (or down), focus on your shoes, or play with your SMART phone (a great device that allows us to talk to people even less). As I have shared this thought recently, I have had other people communicate with me that they do talk to people all the time when they get into elevators; it seems, though, that none of those talkative people have gotten into an elevator with me, as I fail to remember the last time I spoke to a stranger in an elevator.
Removing the conversation from the actual elevator, what comes to mind when thinking of elevator speeches? Usually, it is in response to someone inquiring “What do you do?” With an elevator speech, I envision the person taking a huge breath so that they can suck in as much air as possible to then start on a wordy & windy speech about what it is that they think you should know about their business… going for at least 15 seconds, sometimes lasting over a minute!
Within the first few seconds of that speech, the person listening has already made a decision on whether or not they desire to find out more about what you do.
This is the problem with traditional elevator speeches! If the person is not really interested in what you do, you have wasted precious seconds (or minutes) of your life sharing information they did not have any desire to learn!
When you first meet someone and they ask you what you do, do you really think they want to hear your pre-plan spiel about your business?
Reflect, do you actually want to hear theirs?
What is the alternative to the elevator speech? Not answering at all? Or replying with your industry?
Instead, when people ask what you do, give them just a bite size piece about what you do to see if they are curious in learning more. IF they are interested, THEY WILL ASK YOU for additional details! And then you can continue sharing about your business BECAUSE THEY WANT TO KNOW MORE.
If they do not ask additional questions about you business, they are simply indifferent to what you do!
You have just saved yourself time and energy, and can move on to the next conversation, where the other party may have a desire in what you do.
Now, what would be that LITTLE BIT of information you want to share with them? What will be your alternative to the elevator speech? That is an answer we will explore in an upcoming blog… come back soon.
This is an excerpt from the upcoming book 4 ½ Networking Mistakes even the Experts Make from Tiffanie Kellog.
What are your thoughts on elevator speeches?