The biggest currency is not money, it’s attention. It’s particularly true in today’s world where everyone is fighting for our attention, from Social Media to News Channels to Politicians to Influencers. Their success depends on their ability to grab your attention and they can go to any extent to get that. Someday we will talk about that but today let’s take a different turn.
Did you know your success also depends on the ability to get attention? I am not referring to your social media presence, I am talking about your workplace.
If you are a student, you should know it beforehand. If you are in the early years of your career, either you already realize it or will sooner. If you are a seasoned professional, you will hopefully agree with me. The ability to get and retain someone’s attention and pass on your message effectively during that period is one of the key skill sets that differentiate effective people at the workplace. It’s not as easy as I have put it in one sentence. It takes years to learn this skill set and still you cannot ever say you have mastered it completely.
It’s essential not only for corporate employees, whether you are a small business owner or startup guy or running nonprofit, this is a must. Of course, how you do it, will differ based on your audience. If you master (decent enough) before you enter the workforce, it will not only increase your chances of landing a job but also make your initial years much smoother. I can share my experience learning this skill but trust me, most of us will learn this hard way, i.e. by making mistakes. It’s a painful process but usually has a lasting impact.
Let’s start the process a little bit now and we will talk more in the coming weeks. I am sure, all of you must have heard of ‘Elevator Pitch’. It means ‘short description of an idea, product or company that explains the concept in a way such that any listener can understand it in a short period of time’.  What’s it’s relevance to the Elevator? Assume you met someone senior or someone who is otherwise unreachable, in an elevator. He/she is stuck with you for a few minutes till his/her floor comes. You have that short span of time to make your pitch. You need to be precise and to the point, because you will not get even a single second once elevator stops. That’s how it got its name. Another similarity is when you meet that ‘someone’ in the elevator, most likely you didn’t expect to bump into them, so you didn’t prepare for it. In those few minutes, you need to think, structure, and deliver your talk, your elevator pitch.
The bad news is, Elevators are getting faster with time. They now reach the same floors much quicker and you will get less time to communicate. To be precise, human attention is getting shorter and you have lesser time to make your point.
In real business also, you will get a lot of occasions when you will get a short span of time (mostly not in elevators) from Senior people to present your point. You will get almost the same amount of time (okay ! maybe a bit more) to put your point across. I am not saying your meetings will be just five minutes. Just that these people are so busy and doing so much stuff at the same time, if you don’t get their attention in the first few minutes, you have lost them. Sometime, you will get an opportunity, not in a formal meeting or you will get in a meeting on a different topic.
Remember, I am not talking about the kind of Elevator pitch that you can prepare in advance and just deliver when you get a chance. In real life, you don’t know what will be the topic, what will be the occasion, and what will be the mood. I am talking about the ability to think through, structure, and deliver at that moment within a few minutes (sometimes in a few seconds). As I said, it’s a skill that takes time and pain to develop but there are few tricks you can use. We will talk about those in the upcoming weeks.