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Students prepare for CEO encounters with elevator pitches

September 21, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. – Elevator speech on an elevator? As a matter of fact, yes!

Business communications students took this literal approach to practicing professional interaction – all while on an elevator.

“The idea is to make a contact, introduce yourself, pitch your idea, and hand them your card,” said Ed Faunce, adjunct instructor. “You may not get to see these people often, and if you are prepared, you are more likely to have a positive interaction.” 

Jessica Roberts and her classmates practiced elevator pitches — a short description of an idea, product, company, or introduction of a person, designed to be given in the time between floors.

The concept is to prepare students, like Roberts, to share business ideas when they find themselves face-to-face with the CEO of a company.

When it was Roberts’ turn, Faunce played the part of the CEO of the convenience store and gas station chain where Roberts works, meeting her as she stepped into the Main Building elevator on the second floor.

“Hello, my name is Jessica Roberts, and I have an idea that will increase store profits by 10 percent,” she said during her elevator speech. She further explained that if the store trains more staff members to bake and package cookies, brownies, and other snacks, to keep those items fully stocked, it will build sales.

“It was nerve-wracking at first, but I feel more prepared to share my ideas when I have a chance, and to get noticed for them,” said Roberts, a business major from Greentown.

By the time the elevator descended to the lower level, Faunce had asked for her business card, to get in touch for a more in-depth discussion of her idea.

Classmate Trey Thorn, Peru, agreed that giving the speeches was challenging at first, but a valuable experience. He pitched an idea for how to keep the grocery store where he works open 24 hours, rather than closing at midnight, to provide more convenience for their community.

“This prepares me to catch the attention for someone higher up than myself in my company, and to share my ideas,” he said. “You never know when that opportunity may come up, and where it can lead.”

“When you realize that person next to you is someone in your company you need to talk to, you need to be ready to seize the moment,” said Faunce.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 09/21/2018