When you first meet an important member of management, one of two things usually happens. Either, they will turn to you and say, “Hello, I’m Mr. Jones, you’re new here aren’t you? or, How are you fitting in? Or you can introduce yourself to the senior manager as a new employee.
In either case, there will be an opening for you to briefly chat with them. It’s time for an elevator speech, which is a 60 second opportunity for you to impress management.
Why should you prepare for that casual meeting? You’ll never have a second chance to make a good first impression. You’ll want that opportunity to be positive and memorable in the mind of the senior executive. In fact, the ultimate objective is for the executive to be so interested in what you have to say, a follow-up meeting will be scheduled or you’ll be asked to report back the results of your project.
Most people aren’t prepared for a conversation with a senior manager. You need to hook their interest so they ask you to tell them more! Use a three-step approach:
- Define the issue or project (What you’re trying to solve for the organization)
- Some alternatives your considering (How your approaching it)
- The outcome you hope to achieve (How the organization will benefit)
How do you approach the subject? Here are some alternatives for you to consider:
- “I’m new to the organization and am enjoying the entry strategy of learning the business, especially the revenue enhancing (or cost reduction) project we’re working on.”
- “You’ll be pleased to hear that our target goal of XXX will be surpassed this quarter.”
- “Our team is looking for a way to beat the competition with an innovative new approach”.
- “We’re assessing alternatives to boost productivity and performance”.
Always spread the praise around to others and use the word “we” often. Practice your elevator speech so you’re ready when the time comes. You need to appear natural in your approach rather than rehearsed, brief rather than long-winded, and prepared rather than make-it-up-as-you-go.
If the executive asks you for more information, or better yet, asks for a briefing or “call my office and arrange for a meeting so I can learn more”, your objective has been met.
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