What would you do if you’re stuck in an elevator with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or the CEO of your potential employer?
Last week at ESSEC, Global MBA students participated in a workshop conducted by Career Services where each of us had to “sell” ourselves in 60 seconds, talking about our background, professional goals and aspirations. The term “elevator pitch” comes from a scenario in which you accidentally meet someone important in the elevator. The idea is that you should be able to deliver a quick summary of yourself in the length of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The goal here is to get your point across quickly to that important person. It is the perfect opportunity to make people want to know more about you, especially when you are trying to land a job.
All of us have a lot to say about ourselves, it comes easy to us, but putting the pitch together in only 60 seconds is a lot harder. The workshop took place over two sessions. Mr. Tim Robinson took us through the first session covering the framework of elevator pitch. In the first session, we learned to be introspective, to identify our unique individual selling points and to articulate our goals. By the end of the session we had our elevator pitches ready and rehearsed.
Next came the most dreaded part. We were told that our pitches would be recorded and aired in front of our classmates during the following session. Every one of us came dressed elegantly (not that we don’t dress elegantly on other days) to put on a brave face for the camera. Mr. Philippe Tinet helped us ease our nerves in front of the camera. In 60 seconds, we made our best pitches. Phew!
After it was over, we reflected on the recorded pitches. What we saw took us by surprise. The videos gave us startling insight into our distinctive traits. Some of us came across as friendly, some came across as confident, some very professional, and some spunky. This was one of the most enriching experiences for us (well, not everyone, it terrified me – I’m not too good in front of a camera).
After this experience, I can fully say that I’m well-equipped to reel off my elevator pitch at any time, from a job interview to a cocktail party conversation. All that I’m hoping for now is a casual encounter with Bill Gates in an elevator. :-)
All suited-up for our pitches!