Like a Stephen Strasburg fastball, you just can’t hit all the pitches thrown your way during the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition. Perhaps it’s an overeager HR professional looking for their next (or first!) opportunity in the industry. Or it might be a pushy salesperson in the Exposition Hall trying to sign you up for a demo of the latest and greatest HR Tech.
Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy urged the Monday morning general session audience to “do away with the concept of the elevator pitch” during her insightful presentation on posture and presence. Many people laughed, but why? Why can’t we get rid of it or, at the very least, approach it in a different way. I don’t know about you but I get extremely bored listening to someone share their job title, level, and company name. If you’re lucky, they might delve deeper into their duties or a particularly interesting project or problem. In the expo hall, vendors lead with a bunch of industry buzzwords and get right into the ROI of their products or services. I want more than that, much more.
This year, I noticed a theme in the leadership and non-technical concurrent sessions. Many of them focused on finding your “why” within the HR industry. When you discover your why, I challenge you to get comfortable sharing it with others. Instead of leading a conversation with your title/level/company, let the person know what you’re most passionate about or what gets you excited about your work. Find an opportunity to work for a company or in an industry you believe in. Then, shout it from the roof top.
Delivering a refreshed elevator pitch is like throwing a curveball to a batter expecting a fastball. Similarly, an introduction that leads with your passion or purpose will catch the individual across from you off guard, but in a good way. It will open up the conversation and you may actually connect about something beyond having a similar job title or once living in their current hometown. You might connect, for real, and find a breakthrough moment together.