Posted by Elizabeth Martin
Not every networking opportunity has the structure of an informational interview. For less formal situations, such as a conversation at a conference, you can prepare by drafting and practicing an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a commercial of sorts that concisely describes your relevant qualifications, accomplishments, and goals as you move forward. Preparing a personal pitch helps you control your first impression, convey confidence, and articulate what you’re seeking.
An example might be as follows:
“Hello, Dr. Smith. I attended your session this morning and appreciated your insights regarding BCM theory. My name is Jack Walter, and I hope to be a future colleague someday. As a sophomore at Georgetown University, I have been taking coursework in biology and neuroscience as well as working in a lab at the Georgetown Medical Center. I plan to matriculate directly into a masters program so that I can participate in neural network research. I am particularly interested in your work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. May I e-mail you next week to ask some questions about your research there and how I can position myself for work like yours?”
Essentially, an elevator speech should follow the format below. Of course, there is room for flexibility depending on your goals and context:
- Who I am.
- What I want (short-term, long-term).
- My academic and experiential background (as it relates to what I want).
- What I can contribute to your organization (not necessary for informational interview).
- What I’m hoping you’ll do for me.