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Your Weekly Leadership HVA (High Value Activity)

Hello Lifelong Learner ...

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions) to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites #28: The elevator door opens at the 2nd floor and a senior executive in your organization steps inside. After exchanging pleasantries, she asks you where you work in the organization and your area of responsibility. You open your mouth and what comes out are the precise answers to her two questions: "I work in the Sales department and I'm a Major Account Rep." She thanks you for being a valued employee as the elevator stops at your floor. You wish the executive a nice day, and you exit.

As you reflect on your interaction (and on what you said), you realize you just missed a valuable opportunity to leave a lasting, memorable, and, potentially career-enhancing impression with this senior executive.

For most of us, this type of situation has played out many times in the past. It doesn't always occur with a senior executive (as in the previous story); sometimes it's with an individual from another department in your organization; sometimes it's at an association meeting; sometimes it's someone you've just met on an airplane. Regardless, most of us have felt the void left when an opportunity like this is missed.

To overcome this obstacle, it's advisable to always have (in your back pocket) a ready-to-launch 'elevator speech.' A good elevator speech should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. Some people think that this kind of preparation is only useful for salespeople who need to pitch their products and services. But nothing could be further from the truth because leaving a favorable impression is something we should ALL be concerned about. When you meet someone new you only have — literally — a few brief seconds to leave a good first impression.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Step: These HVA Action Steps will help you better prepare for the next time an 'elevator door' opportunity opens up for you (pun absolutely intended!):

  • The #1 Question You Need to Ask Before You Start Writing Your Elevator Speech (ES): What do you want people to remember most about you? Try to find something that excites you too because people won't remember everything that you say, but they'll remember your enthusiasm.
  • Describe What You Do: Start your ES by describing what your organization does (if the person is external) or what your specific department does (if the person is internal). Focus on the problems that you and your team solve and how the work you do contributes. Put a strong emphasis on value and, if possible, include information (or a statistic) that enhances credibility (e.g., improved FCR by 13%). Be interesting, memorable (and succinct!). Remember the quote from Hall-of-Fame pitcher, Dizzy Dean: “If it's a fact, it ain't a brag!” Your ES is your chance to brag a bit — just don't sound boastful or arrogant.
  • Use WIIFM When You Write Your ES: Design your ES for your audience by answering the basic questions they will be asking, "What does this mean to me?" or "How will this help me?" Tailor your ES depending on who you are speaking to. [Note: You may also want to have a more casual, 'personal' ES prepared for social settings.]
  • Practice ... and Then Practice Some More: The best way to feel comfortable about your ES is to practice it for 'perfect pitch.' Try saying your ES out loud to a colleague or friend. This will help you discover whether it's tight and delivering a succinct message.

Here's an example of an ES that incorporates the HVA steps listed above:

“I've been in the Accounting Department for five years and I love what we do. I know accounting sounds boring but not when you consider that we've been able to reduce cost overruns by over 17% using the new software we've implemented. I volunteered to be trained on the software because I love the challenge of stretching myself and learning new things. What about you? What gets you excited about your position/occupation?”

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Have a brilliant day ... and enjoy the journey!


Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA

RESULTant and Behavioral Engineer

"Networking has been cited as the number one unwritten rule of success in business. Who you know really impacts what you know."

Sallie Krawcheck 

Looking for previous issues of CORE Bites HVAs? Go to our Archives Repository.

An online version of this CORE Bites HVA (current issue) can be viewed here.


GDPR Authenticity Information (the legal stuff):

Clearview Performance Systems, Inc.

24573 N 119th Pl, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 USA

Authorized Representative: Neil Dempster

Email Address:  


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