There are career centers and networking groups all over advising us to perfect our elevator speech. Armed with this advice, many get busy writing and practicing (well, maybe practicing) their 30 or 45 or 60 second commercial. Once the speech is perfected off you go to your networking event, conference or career fair ready to make connections.
However, often times the attempt to make an introduction and get out the elevator speech (especially at career fairs) turns into an awkward combination of a flawed sales pitch and a bad pick up line. And when this attempt is followed by an immediate presentation of your business card or resume it just makes it worse!
So why is this advice so common. Well, the statistics tell us that majority of jobs are found through networking and connections. The flaw in the elevator speech advice is that is missing the actual networking and connection building premise. Networking and building connections is not about going to an event, meeting someone and then emailing them at first opportunity with your sales pitch or resume. Making connections requires two way communication. It requires give and take. If you aren’t willing to give in the relationship, you shouldn’t be willing to take.
Next time you go to a career fair or networking event, set realistic expectations about what you want to get out of the event. If you want to network to find a job, instead of practicing your elevator speech, spend some time determining your career goals and what types of experiences will help you get there. When you meet people, spend some time getting to know them and don’t offer your business card or resume without a request or without the willingness to continue the dialogue in some fashion with the person to whom you are speaking. And if you are using a professional organization to network, get involved by volunteering. There is no better way for your to demonstrate your skills to those in the profession.
Get out there and get networking!
For more resources, See the Human Resources library.