Do We Really Like Remote Work?

By Communication Consultant Ross Bell (Management Consulting, ’23)

Remote WorkAs we turn the corner on the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are continuing to evaluate their remote work policy. Facebook now allows all full-time employees to work from home if their jobs permit. JP Morgan Chase required all of its employees back to the office by last July. 

In a recent poll conducted by OnePoll, those 2,000 surveyed were asked to reflect upon their experiences with remote work. Participants were asked about their productivity, work-life balance, and more. Here are some of the key findings:

Nearly 48% of respondents say the company’s policy on remote work is now their number one desired workplace perk. Nearly 72% claim they would not consider working for a company that didn’t offer flexible work-from-home policies. This compares with only about 20% of employees claiming they worked from home before the pandemic. Where we work is now on the negotiating table– companies would be remiss if they fail to consider these new preferences. 

Not only does remote work enable us to feel a greater sense of autonomy, but it also provides a better work-life balance. According to the survey, 71% percent of respondents claim to have a better work-life balance, which they attribute to more flexibility in their work schedules and the ability to take breaks whenever they want. Employees also believe their work is becoming more recognized, according to the survey. Perhaps this is because online communication flattens the hierarchy in organizations. 

Although remote work may be here to stay, there are still some drawbacks. 

The first drawback is technology. 35% of employees did not have the right office equipment and 36% of employees failed to communicate with coworkers effectively, the survey revealed. While this may seem discouraging, numerous companies have invested heavily in remediating these technological issues to accommodate for the new remote-work lifestyle. But unfortunately, these are not the only drawbacks to the shift toward remote work. 

Some respondents also think their career advancement is being jeopardized. Almost 4 in 10 (36%) people believe “it has been a strain to effectively communicate with their leadership about career matters.” Although no further explanation was provided, I suspect this strained communication is the result of missing out on informal communication. Break room and hallway chats are sometimes how employees hear about new career advancement opportunities. 

Fortunately, the survey provides insight on how companies can best implement remote work: the key is to prioritize communication. 

More than half of respondents believe that managers who define expectations make a positive difference in their performance. 52% of employees believe that direct communication — perhaps designated “catch up meetings”– should be more frequent, and will better help employees understand their roles.

As you can tell, remote work is likely here to stay and managers should continue to find new ways to implement it effectively. Working from home provides employees with more autonomy and work-life balance, though it poses some challenges. Strong communication and constant feedback from employees can aid managers in implementing remote work effectively. 

You can sharpen your communication skills at the Phillip Rauch Center for Business Communication. Send us an email or schedule an appointment with us!

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Some information in this article comes from the following sources: 

https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/12/09/how-the-coronavirus-outbreak-has-and-hasnt-changed-the-way-americans-work/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000368701530048X 

https://www.thebci.org/news/impacts-of-remote-working-and-the-future-of-the-office.html 

https://www.studyfinds.org/employees-remote-work-from-home-forever/

Four Steps You Should Take Before Your First Interview

By Communication Consultant Ross Bell (Management Consulting, ’23)

As we enter the heart of professional recruiting season, you may be wondering what you should do to prepare for your first interview. According to experts, these are the four most important steps you can take to best prepare. 

Step #1: Conduct Research

According to the consulting firm Experis, researching the firm you are interviewing for is the most important thing you can do: “47% of the candidates failed the job interview because they didn’t have enough information about the company they applied to.” You should familiarize yourself with the company’s mission statement, their position within the industry, and the company’s competitive advantages. 

In addition to researching the firm of interest, it is also helpful to understand the background of the professionals who will be conducting your interview. Most companies will brief you with a description of your interviewer’s role in the company, but it is important that you supplement this information with some research of your own. LinkedIn and the company’s website are great resources!

Step #2: Being prepared with a formal resume– and knowing it inside and out

Your resume should showcase your best skills and past experiences as succinctly and clearly as possible. Resumes come in all shapes and sizes– so be sure to research the ideal format of your industry of interest. The Center for Career and Professional Development on campus is an excellent resource to help with everything resume related. In addition to their resources on Handshake, students can also walk into their office hours for more individualized attention. 

Step #3: Anticipate Frequently Asked Interview Questions and Understand The STAR Method

Regardless of what company you are interviewing for, the pool of qualitative interview questions is relatively small, according to CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch. At a minimum, you should be prepared to answer these popular interview questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Tell me about a mistake you made
  3. What are your greatest strengths? What are your weaknesses? 
  4. Why should we hire you?

All of these questions should be answered by using the STAR method. Begin with Situation– consider a time when you leveraged the skills they are asking you about. While describing your situation, be sure to define the Tasks that you were responsible for– what were your responsibilities, and how are they relevant to answering the question. The Tasks that you completed will then be supplemented by Actions– what specifically did you do that required the desired skills? Finally, conclude with the Results of the Situation– what was the impact of your actions and how do these skills relate to the interview question asked? 

Interviewers are looking for you to show– not tell–  your qualifications and skills. Reflecting upon experiences when you exhibited these skills will help frame a picture of who you are at your best. 

Step #4: Develop 2-3 Questions for Your Interviewer

Asking questions is an excellent way to learn more about the company. It also tells your interviewer that you are interested in the position. According to Business Insider, you should not be afraid to inquire about your interview performance and how it compares to how an ideal candidate would perform: “Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?” If there is a mismatch between what your potential employer is looking for and your own skills, perhaps this is not the best position for you. It’s also important to inquire about the company’s core values and mission statement. You could ask, “Can you describe the working culture of the company?” Lastly, if you are unsure of the steps going forward, the end of the interview is a good time to ask your interviewer. 

It is normal to be anxious for an interview, but thankfully there are ways to alleviate your stress. By conducting your own research, reviewing your work experience and leadership roles, and by anticipating interview questions, you can be better prepared. Soliciting feedback is also an excellent way to prepare, which you can do with The Communication Consultants at RCBC. Make an appointment! We are always eager to help improve your communication skills!

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Works Cited:

20 Tips for Great Job Interviews (experis.com)

51 Great Questions to Ask in an Interview | The Muse

Suzy Welch: How to answer 7 of the most common interview questions (cnbc.com)

STAR Method | Caseinterview

https://www.businessinsider.com/questions-to-ask-at-end-of-job-interview-2016-4

10 Questions to Ask After an Interview | Indeed.com

https://legaljobs.io/blog/interview-statistics/

Interview Image

Tips for an Eyecatching Cover Letter

By Communication Consultant Lili Tang (Accounting and BIS, ’22)

Tips for an Eyecatching Cover LetterDuring the job application process, companies often will ask us for a cover letter to accompany our resume. You might be wondering: “What is a cover letter after all? Does it really matter?” 

Cover letters are one-page documents that describe additional information about personal skills and relevant experiences for a particular position. According to a survey conducted by a resume-building software provider, 83% of recruiters think cover letters help them in hiring decisions. Having a cover letter can not only support the content of your resume, but also demonstrate your extra effort if you send one for a position that doesn’t require it. Thus, if you wish to stand out in the sea of applicants, having a strong cover letter will be important!

In order to express your enthusiasm and strong interest in the position, here are some key contents you should include in your cover letter:

  • Express your desire to work at that company
    (What specific parts attract you, why do you want to apply for that job, etc.?)
  • Relate your experiences and skills with the job requirements
    (Share anecdotes about past internships, leadership roles, community service, etc.)
  • Show your excitement about connecting with the company further
    (Say, “I look forward to hearing from you,” “I am eager to contribute to this position and learn more opportunities down the road,” etc.)

One more consideration: How would you feel if a Christmas tree has no decorations at all? A plain cover letter is like an undecorated tree. Hence, it is important to add “decorations” to make the letter more special and meaningful. Based on suggestions from OfficeTeam, there are several tips you could implement:

  • Personalize your content, starting by addressing the letter to specific people who are recipients
  • Keep the flow consistent and concise
  • Avoid mistakes regarding grammar, tone, and typos
  • Remember to attach the letter in online job boards or in the email

This article offers an overview of writing a cover letter, and you could always conduct more research and take a look at some structures and examples. We hope you know how to start writing your own cover letter now! But fundamentally, remember to stay confident and continue to improve yourself throughout the learning process. If you have any questions regarding cover letters, do not hesitate to email or schedule an appointment with us!

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Interview with Xinyi Cui

By Communication Consultant Grace Kwon (Finance, ’23)

Xinyi Cui Communication ConsultantXinyi Cui: Xinyi Cui is one of the current communication consultants at the Rauch Center for Business Communications who has been working at the center for three years now. As a new communication consultant, I had the opportunity to interview her and gain a better insight into how communication consultants serve Lehigh’s College of Business undergraduates. Here is what she had to say: 

(The interview has been slightly edited for brevity and clarity.)

1. First, to start off the interview, I want to ask you: what made you want to work as a communication consultant?

The Rauch Business Center for Communications was actually just starting to offer the consultants program, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to apply for this communication consultant position that they were offering. I thought that this job would be the perfect opportunity for me to offer my new, innovative ideas. Also, business communications, in general, is a huge deal, so as a business student, I wanted to contribute my efforts and help other students. After working here at the center for three years now, I believe that I have made a lot of contributions, one being writing blog articles, which are great resources for business students! I also just finished an internship as a marketing research intern that was heavily related to business communications, so I do think that this internship demonstrates how I’ve personally benefited from the role. 

2. When you began working this job, what did you expect to get out of it? 

In the beginning, I honestly did not have any expectations since the center was quite new. At first, I thought it was similar to the writing centers here on campus, but later on, after working this job, I have realized that it is quite different. Along with this, I expected to be able to apply my leadership skills to this job, whether this be thinking of new ideas for projects, executing these projects, etc.

3. How do you think communication consultants at RCBC have helped students? 

First, we help a lot of first-year business students with their assignments/projects for their introductory business courses (e.g. BUS 001, BUS 003). While working here, I have realized that one of the challenges the freshman and sophomores have is not knowing what the audience is exactly looking for. Communication consultants are able to help students better understand what the audience exactly wants. Also, since we (the consultants) have more experience with writing, presentations, etc., we can help the freshmen and sophomores with the knowledge that we have accumulated over the years. 

4. How have you changed as a communication consultant from year 1 to year 3?

In year 1, I did not have a lot of experience with tutoring, so I was super nervous about becoming a tutor/peer advisor for other students. English is not my native language, so I was honestly not confident that I could effectively help others. However, now in year 3, after assisting students with their writing, I believe that I have helped them more than I expected I could. More specifically, I think I am best at helping students structure their essays in an organized manner and guiding them on how to thoroughly answer all the questions in the prompt. Overall, I am definitely more confident now than I was in year 1.

5. What has been your favorite part of working at RCBC?

My favorite part of working here has been bringing in new project ideas and making these ideas into a reality. The coordinator and director here at the Center have assisted me with bringing these ideas into life/something tangible. Also, another favorite part is talking with other business students; I especially enjoy talking and interacting with the students who frequently visit the center.

6. What has been your favorite project thus far?

My favorite project has been creating the visualization guides. In these guides, we have written about topics such as how to make a PowerPoint. Before writing about this topic, I had to research beforehand, and by researching, I have learned, myself, what a “good” PowerPoint entails. By writing about this topic and providing it as a resource for others, I have noticed that I am not only helping others, but also helping myself. 

7. Have you faced any challenges working this job, and how did you overcome these challenges?

A challenge that I am currently facing is regarding the current project about the “Job Keywords Dictionary.” Since I have never learned the coding language that is required for this project, it has been a challenging task. Although I am not completely finished with this project, I have been trying my best. Additionally, a general challenge working as a consultant is that different students have their own different issues regarding their assignments. For me, I have an idea in my mind of what a “perfect” essay looks like; however, some students who come in for consultations do not have the same idea as I do. To overcome this challenge, I have made an effort to understand the students’ ideas and assist them as much as possible. 

8. What have you specifically learned from doing this job for the past three years?

From doing this job, I have learned the importance of storytelling. This may be a cultural difference, but in Mandarin, when you write an analysis, it is more focused on having a core idea and writing about different perspectives–these ideas don’t necessarily have to be connected with each other. However, in English, you have to connect each argument in each paragraph, so I have realized the importance of making sure all these ideas connect for the sake of storytelling.

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

The Top 5 Communication Skills Needed Before Your First Job

By Communication Consultant Ross Bell (Management Consulting, ’23)

Top 5 Communication Skills Needed Before Your First JobWhile practicing your elevator pitch before this month’s job fair, you may have wondered what other communication skills are important to master before starting your first job. According to experts, there are five key communication skills that are must-haves before beginning your first job. 

1. Writing

Writing clearly and effectively is one of the most important skills to possess in the workplace. Business writing is not solely about strong word choice and being grammatically correct– it’s about conveying your message concisely and accurately. Success in writing emails and company-wide memos is contingent upon your ability to get your message across as efficiently as possible. 

2. Choosing the best method of communication

In addition to possessing strong written communication skills, it is also paramount that you understand the different forms of business communication. Formal phone calls should be prefaced with an agenda that is sent via email at least 24 hours in advance. Emails provide a written record with exact dates and times for all conversations, which is important when there are lots of intricate details that can be easily forgotten in a face-to-face meeting.

3. Giving presentations

Because you will often be called upon to contribute during meetings, you should hone your presentation skills. According to Visme, effective presentations are only 7% based on the content of your presentation. In other words, your presentation is almost exclusively driven by your delivery. Effective delivery includes an appropriate PowerPoint presentation that minimizes the amount of words on each slide and uses an attention-grabbing theme. Having a successful presentation is also contingent upon your body language, such as eye contact and using your hands effectively while presenting.

4. Giving and receiving feedback

While difficult, providing and receiving feedback are essential to possess in any professional setting. One of the strongest advocates for workplace feedback is Professor Adam Grant. In his book Think Again, Grant reveals one commonality of extremely successful scientists and business people–they are more focused on being correct over the long term at the expense of being wrong in the short term. Don’t be concerned about the short term if your intention is being more accurate over time. This begins with soliciting feedback from your colleagues and leveraging all alternatives before making decisions. Providing feedback to coworkers–and especially those above you–can be challenging. It is important to preface your feedback by acknowledging the strongest aspects of their work and then suggest changes with valuable data as support. Giving and receiving feedback is only one of the many important communication skills that you should develop before starting your first job. 

5. Listening

Not all communication stems from speaking; having superior listening skills is also a necessity in any organization. One strategy that many experts recommend is active listening, including repeating important information back to the speaker, asking questions, providing your thoughts during your conversation, and being physically present. Nodding your head, making eye contact and ensuring your body language suggests interest are excellent ways to show your listeners that you are engaged. 

Even though there are countless communication skills that you should develop before you begin your first job, experts consider the above to be the most important. Thankfully, all of these communications skills can be mastered with practice! The best practice includes positive and helpful feedback from others, and you can get that kind of response from the Communication Consultants at RCBC. Make an appointment! You don’t even need to have an assignment to work on.

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Works Cited:

Active Listening – Communication Skills Training from MindTools.com

Top 10 Communication Skills (For Your Life & Career) (novoresume.com)

10 Communication Skills for Career Success | Indeed.com

How to Pick the Best Way to Communicate | Duke Today

Think Again, the latest book from Adam Grant

Effective Networking with a Recruiter

By Communication Consultant Lili Tang (Accounting and BIS, ’22)

Effective Networking with a RecruiterAs students are busy with the fall semester, numerous companies have opened their application portals for externship programs, internships, and full-time positions. But before we jump to our final decisions and click “submit,” there is an essential step towards a successful and impactful application – effective networking. Specifically, even if we have connected with various professionals in advance, we ought not to ignore the power of networking with a recruiter.

If you wonder the reason for making a connection with a recruiter, just imagine how many candidates a recruiter reviews and makes decisions about each day. As we know, a good first impression is often a key to success. Being able to communicate with the recruiter effectively could make you stand out from the crowd. Moreover, a recruiter is like a chef’s special, representing the restaurant’s characteristics and differentiating itself from other restaurants. Getting to know more about the recruiter helps you to quickly grasp a sense of the company’s culture.

Therefore, it is critical for us to build a strong relationship with recruiters at an early stage. Consider these steps:

  1. Treat yourself as a brand and be ready to sell yourself
    • Define your career path and career goals
    • Determine the kinds of industry or working environment you are looking for
    • Understand your strengths and weaknesses
    • Keep your brand up-to-date (i.e. LinkedIn, Handshake, Resume, Experiences)
  2. Create a connection
    • Be considerate and reach out via network platforms or email with a personalized message
    • Share your on- and off-campus experiences, interests and any relevant questions about applications, interviews, etc.
    • Seek out any potential events for participation and engagement with recruiters
    • Express your appreciation for taking time out of his or her busy schedule
  3. Maintain the connection
    • Follow up with any questions or concerns during opportunity searching
    • Keep the recruiter informed and updated about your status
    • Try to engage and involve in many related company events

As you are conducting research and practicing your elevator pitch on your own, keep in mind that you are not the only one looking for the right fit – the recruiter is also looking for the right candidate. Though it can be intimidating to step out of your comfort zone, learning to develop a mutual relationship first paves the way as we enter into a professional world. More importantly, remember to show your enthusiasm and dedication throughout the process, and your hard work will eventually pay off.

If you are interested to learn more about networking or related communication topics, please do not hesitate to reach us through email or Zoom appointments.

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Tips for Resume Language

By Communication Consultant Xinyi Cui (Accounting and BIS, ’22)

Tips for Resume LanguageAs we all know, a professional resume is formatted with brief, bullet point statements. Applicants have to show their most relevant and valuable experiences on one single page. How can we use only three to five bullet points to describe each experience vividly while showing the connections to a job description? We must apply the art of language.

Each bullet point starts with an action verb, which needs to be very powerful and professional. For example, “communicated” is better than “talked,” since “communicated” is more inclusive and emphasized by many positions. Also, try to avoid using the same verb repetitively – some words like “introduced” and “consulted” can replace “communicated” depending on your experiences. More importantly, pick the keywords that can show your skills such as “designed” “analyzed” and “planned.” For more resources, you can go to Lehigh career center or conduct general Google research.

When describing your past or current experiences, it is important to stick to the content of the job requirements. For example, when I look for a job as an auditor, some experiences related to analyzing, problem-solving and consulting skills are very valuable. In that case, I can use the experience of a marketing research intern to hit all three factors. The research experience usually starts with a problem, such as whether or not to change the package of a product. To conduct effective marketing research, the intern assists in designing a research criteria and therefore it shows my logical process of problem solving. This job also requires me to face the client from start to finish, from understanding the client’s needs to presenting the analysis results with a slide deck. In general, I matched these three bullet points from this experience with a professional and organized tone.

Instead of purely describing what we have done, many people may choose to include the purpose or reflection into the bullet points. In that case, it is recommended to quote or reference the companies’ values into your resume. For example, most technology companies label innovation as an important value, so there should be a high frequency of words such as “innovated,” “created,” “changed,” “developed” and so forth, depending on the words used by the company you apply for.

In most cases, using industry jargon is not recommended unless you are certain that everyone understands the meaning so that jargon shows your professionalism. A good example would be ROI and ROA; all accounting and finance people know these terms very well and business professionals in other fields know them, too. More importantly, these acronyms save you a lot of space! However, be alert if you apply for engineering-related positions – these terms won’t make much sense to that audience. Instead, they can cause confusion, so pay attention to specialized terms and use them wisely.

If you are interested to learn more or have any concerns regarding related topics, please do not hesitate to email us or schedule an appointment with us via Zoom.

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

This article  is adapted from the following source:

Doyle, A. (2021, July 6). Comprehensive List of the Best Power Words to Include in a Resume. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from The Top Power Words and Buzzwords to Use in Your Resume (thebalancecareers.com)

Tips for Starting an Honest Conversation

By Communication Consultant Lili Tang (Accounting and BIS, ’22)

Tips for Starting an Honest ConversationHave you ever disagreed with a group member(s) during a meeting but ended up not speaking up at all? It’s a common experience! But what triggers this norm of unwillingness to speak up during discussions?

Leadership and organization coach Betsy Kauffman emphasizes the importance of candid conversations in a group. In her TED Talk, Kauffman refers to people who prefer to discretely text and discuss with others afterwards rather than speaking up during meetings as passive-aggressive. When such conversations happen behind the scenes, it is hard for group leaders or other members to notice them. The result could be a vicious cycle in the team environment, contributing little to advance the team’s tasks.

Though it may be uncomfortable doubting or disagreeing with others, productive communication is always helpful and essential to a working team. With such an objective in mind, Kauffman suggests four practice strategies: confidence, intent, delivery, and striving to seek a solution.

Confidence sets the foundation for opening up the conversation. Kauffman mentions “The Captain Obvious Strategy”: leading with “Call me Captain Obvious, but…” before bringing up a point of disagreement. Such an approach helps check if other members are encountering the same issues or having similar opinions in a humorous way, implicitly enabling others to join in the conversation. At the same time, you need to be aware of and understand your intent of sharing your “truthful” thoughts, which would make your message more likely to be received with an open mind.

Furthermore, Kauffman emphasizes a process for telling a team member that they are not keeping up with their commitment to the team. Framing our message in direct, factual, and emphatic language will strengthen the effectiveness of the conversation as we allow the team to be more comfortable to share opinions, and help everyone keep up at the same pace.

  • Direct – “Hey team, we have not met any of our commitments over the past several weeks.”
  • Factual – “We’ve looked at these data that show you [specific team member] have not met your commitment.”
  • Empathetic – “We are concerned that you do not have everything that you need and that we need to do something better to support you.”

Last but not least, it is necessary to develop the conversation with a mindset of seeking a solution. Rather than asking random questions and solely listing the issues, proposing alternative solutions and following up would push the conversation forward, as well as providing opportunities for everyone to work through options together. “We’ve/I’ve come to realize that we are currently facing…, but what if we could … and …, we are going to be able to solve it and eventually meet our goals. What do you guys think?”

We will always encounter situations in which we need to muster up the courage to say something. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is not always easy, but we should not ignore the power of speaking up. According to Kauffman, “once it’s said, that’s when the real conversations start to happen.”

If you are interested to learn more or have any concerns regarding related topics, please email us or schedule an appointment to meet with one of our Communication Consultants.

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Tips for Hybrid Communication

By Communication Consultant Lili Tang (Accounting and BIS, ’22)

Tips for Hybrid CommunicationAs our new semester kicks off on campus, we are now able to conduct more projects with team members in person. However, with uncertain situations related to the pandemic, we still need to communicate online in many situations. To better ensure smooth and effective communication, here are some tips and considerations for teamwork in a hybrid mode.

Before getting right to the project, we should take time to better understand all team members’ situations by reaching out to each one of them with some general questions. For example:

  • What does your schedule look like?
  • What tools do you use when communicating remotely?
  • Will you have any difficulties attending team meetings?
  • What are your major concerns for this project?

Asking the above questions and sharing with other members helps to develop a productive and engaging team atmosphere, which is helpful when allocating tasks to individuals.

After getting to know each member’s situations, next determine the team’s workflow. There are two types of communication: synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication happens in real time, such as meetings in person, video or phone call, and group message exchanges. This type of communication helps to gather various brainstorming ideas, discuss complex problems, and urgent matters. To better conduct team projects synchronously, having a simple agenda in advance will speed up the meeting. Also, recording meeting notes and upcoming deliverables will minimize repetitive task allocations, while understanding the project’s status quo.

On the other hand, asynchronous communication usually involves a time lag that allows time for one or more members to deliver or receive information. Because the gap makes it more difficult for each member to track the progress of the project and communicate in a timely manner, keeping in touch and knowing when to take the initiative are always critical. For example, you should set up group calendars and reminders, provide necessary resources when you can, and notify the team about any personal emergencies as early as possible.

As the team continues to learn and adjust in hybrid communication, there are some additional considerations:

  • Be flexible while also being responsible to meet the project deadline
  • Plan and set deadlines for each project stage to avoid procrastination and inconsistent engagement
  • Be respectful and inclusive to everyone’s ideas and contributions to minimize misunderstandings and uneven influence in decision making

As always, you are not alone. The RCBC is here to offer various communication resources and address any of your and your team’s concerns regarding assignments, presentations, and even more. Do not hesitate to email, book an appointment to meet via Zoom, or visit our center!

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

How to Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

By Communication Consultant Xinyi Cui (Accounting and BIS, ’22)

How to Prepare your Elevator PitchNo doubt you have introduced yourself several times recently. It’s not very difficult to first say hello to a new acquaintance or to introduce ourselves at the start of a new class. We usually share our name, major, and where we live. Maybe we share some details about our hobbies or interests. But when we walk into a career fair or attend networking events, an introduction is not that easy. We need to be ready to talk briefly but specifically about our experiences, knowledge, skills, and interests. Creating and practicing an elevator pitch is an important part of our preparation.

Usually the elevator pitch takes about 30 to 60 seconds. Though brief, it shapes our audience’s first impression. Therefore, understanding our audience’s expectations is important, what do they want to know about us? What can interest them and how can we persuade them?

The best approach is to tell stories that convey our relevant experiences and skills. However, consider the audience and pay attention to the words we use. Sometimes the listeners may not know the specialized terminology, abbreviations, or concepts that we have studied, so it is important to keep it simple and focused.

A common situation for networking is that we are not looking for a specific position; thus, we want to show our flexibility. A good approach is to be open-minded about requirements like willingness to travel, salary expectations, and so on.

At the end of the pitch, do not forget the goal. Let your audience know you are looking for opportunities! Try not to limit your goal to a single, specific role since the elevator pitch will apply to many circumstances. Your audience might know of an opportunity that would be a great fit for you even though you hadn’t heard about it before.

Take a look at the example below:

“I am a junior majoring in supply chain management and environmental science, while working as a reporter for the college newspaper. With the goal of promoting sustainable lifestyle, I focus on introducing different environmental issues and identifying opportunities of possible innovations in our daily life at Lehigh. After serving on the committee that designed the most recent sustainable and healthy food initiative on campus and helping to organize several conferences, I am looking for a supply chain internship that will give me the opportunity to focus on sustainability. I am especially interested in emerging technologies, such as block chain and NFT, that can guarantee sustainability at every level of the supply chain.”

It answers some basic questions including who you are, what you have done, what is your goal and what you are looking for. Like the resume and cover letters, we have to read and edit this short paragraph again and again to make it appropriate for different situations so that it is never outdated.

Last but not least, keep practicing. Be ready with your pitch whenever the right opportunity presents itself. If you need help creating or rehearsing your pitch, visit the Rauch Center for Business Communication and our communication consultants will help you better prepare for your networking opportunities.

Get information and resources about our center at The Philip Rauch Center for Business Communication.

Parts of this article were adapted from the following sources:

Doyle, A. (2021, January 27). When and how to use an elevator pitch. The Balance Careers. How to Create an Elevator Pitch With Examples (thebalancecareers.com)

Frost, A. (2021, May 25). 12 elevator Pitch examples to inspire your own. HubSpot Blog. 12 Elevator Pitch Examples to Inspire Your Own (hubspot.com).