Imagine a towering building block, and travelling up the elevator to the 34th floor. Glass panes all around you, looking down onto Times Square where everything is as tiny as a pin prick. This is the sight you see when you enter the Thomson Reuters office by Times Square. I had the opportunity to visit these offices during my internship. I was attending a talk entitled ‘Making your Mark’ presented by Jolie Hunt, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Brand and Public Relations at Thomson Reuters (although she is now at AOL). Ms. Hunt has a great biography, and I was extremely interested in hearing her words of advice as to make my mark in my career of choice.
She was a great speaker and utterly inspiring which is why when she was closing up her talk, she asked the audience a hypothetical question: If she had a job to give away, how would you convince her to give it to you? And what Ms. Hunt wanted from this was an elevator pitch: a one minute persuasive piece to convince her why you should get this hypothetical job over any other person. About ten people out of the hundred in the room, stood up one after the other and pitched their reasons why they should be the individual hired. I was the last person to stand, heart absolutely pounding but I thought to myself, what is there to lose?! And the answer was nothing.
I vaguely remember what I said, that I was determined, motivated and focused and that if she was to hire me I would prove to her that I was better than any of the other individuals who had stood up. Others asked questions such as ‘Why should I hire the company to employ me?’ – twisting her question round and bouncing it back to her. Of course, being hypothetical there was no job, but what I achieved was the thrill of selling myself, being completely put on the spot and thinking ‘What are my real strengths? How badly do I want this?’ And I do this with every job I interview for now, confidence will get you ahead. I prepare my strengths and I prepare my elevator pitch for every interview.
And so the moral of the story: be prepared to sell yourself. Do yourself justice. Have the confidence and the ability to speak out boldly, no matter who is around you.
Even though the job was hypothetical Ms. Hunt invited those who stood up to pitch, to have breakfast with her several weeks later at Robert DeNiro’s restaurant ‘Locanda Verde’ in Tribeca. It was an amazing experience and it’s something I would have missed out on had I not had the confidence to be one of the ten people who stood up to speak that evening.