Through it, Charlie broke out of Wonka’s factory. In it, babies have been born. And, occasionally, inside it – bow chicka bow wow – you get what I mean.
Ah yes. The elevator. Clearly, not simply a means of transportation.
In corporate America, business happens when people meet. And often, those meetings are more than informal – they’re accidental. They happen in places like hallways, stairwells, lobbies, restaurants, and your kids’ baseball games. They happen “on the elevator.” And so you must, you absolutely must, be fluent in elevator speak.
Rate yourself – When you bump into someone you’ve been trying to meet, do you stare straight ahead, watching the numbers slowly illuminate or make idle chatter about clandestine activity on the missing 13th floor? How about if someone bumps into you – do you fumble for answers to their on-the-spot questioning? Or, if a fellow rider inquires, “So what do you do?” Is your response confident, quick, deliberate?
It comes down to this – are you a victim of what we in the industry call Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome? And, more importantly, is it hurting your business? If so, I offer you the same advice I give my own clients.
In an elevator, you should know how to –
• Explain what you do in 30 seconds or less
• Direct rather than endure the conversation
• Avoid common talk pitfalls
• Choose the right word – and avoid the wrong one
• Determine what a person really wants to know – and if you want to share it
• Redirect a discussion
• Exit a conversation without giving offense
And, most importantly –
• Turn elevator conversations into opportunities for new business
That way, the next time you step in, you can step up too.