Love in an Elevator

Ben —  June 26, 2014

Having an elevator pitch ready when somebody asks ‘what do you do?’, is one of the first things you learn to have prepared when you enter the workforce. It is key in networking, when trying to impress potential clients as well as future employers. In fact, having a good elevator pitch even if you are unemployed is generally good to have.

None of this is new to you, I am aware of this.

Many moons ago when I was in the production world, somebody would ask any variation of the popular “what do you do?” Back then it was easy, you were either hauling a camera, gaff tape or you were a PA. When a PA, the answers transitioned more into “what do you WANT to be?” These types of questions would really test to see how well your elevator pitch is rehearsed. You could tell who would be a lifelong PA, as well as who knew his stuff and was probably going places. When somebody would ask me, I rarely gave off an impression of the latter as my pitch sounded more like a plea for employment beyond the 3 day shoot.

For me and my new family, this was fortunately a very brief season in my life. I didn’t take too well to the feast or famine which is common when first breaking into the business, so I decided to go get a 9-5. Through the next 5-7 years I have learned to quickly fine-tune a 15 second pitch wherever I was employed. For the most part, I couldn’t really sell anything to the people receiving the pitch so it turned more into an elevator speech.

When I first started here at Orange I struggled with an elevator pitch. I made sure I asked around as to what may or may not be appropriate. For me, if you know me well enough, you know I need these kinds of people in my life, and I believe it is important to be able to allow them to speak truth, but more importantly – I listen.

So the struggle had to do with several different issues, for example what do you say to non-believers to keep them engaged? Alternatively, what can I say to the super-Christians that would give them enough information, but not spark a theological debate? Also, how can I say enough information in 15 seconds interesting enough for them to check us out?

So I came up with several different answers for these 2 scenarios. But in the end when I meet somebody in an elevator and I have 4 floors to describe ‘what I do,’ I can take out the agenda, tell them I get to work with some incredibly talented and creative people who work together to help influence those who influence the next generation.