Elevator speech

Our university’s graduate school is offering to professors “a speed networking” workshop where we will be able to practice “our 3 minute elevator speech.” I never thought I needed an elevator speech and I find the concept to be quite humiliating.

At the workshop, we will learn to “share our topics in an accelerated fashion.” Nobody took the trouble of explaining what the hurry is, though. If people are not interested in “my topic”, I neither want to steal 3 ultra precious minutes of their time nor aim to corner them on elevators.

People who came up with this idiotic idea don’t know dick about research. It is not about firing off a snappy statement while looking ingratiatingly at a rapid succession of potential buyers. Research is a slow, quiet process that matures very gradually and requires respect, time, and silence. I can hardly think of a word more contrary to the nature of research than “accelerated.”

What is next? A “Practice Your Sales Pitch” workshop for academics?

I’m sick and tired of these gabby, perky failed salespeople who didn’t make it in actual sales and decided to invade academia instead.

13 thoughts on “Elevator speech”

  1. In my field, “elevator speech” is an unfortunate a misnomer for a skill I actually find quite useful as an academic. For us, it just means having something accurate, interesting and succinct to say when someone you’ve just met asks you what you work on and what your research interests are. This is the sort of thing that is very useful in graduate school and becomes less critical the more senior you are, I suspect.

    Like

    1. The idea that scholars needs some chirpy telemarketer teach them how to speak about research is extremely bizarre. Do you feel like you need a workshop offered by somebody with a very limited command of the English language (as evidenced by the quotes in my post) to teach you how to speak about your research? Neither do I.

      And while resources gets wasted on this stuff, library has to close early because it can’t even pay minimum salary to its student workers.

      Like

  2. I’ve heard the employment situation for PhDs is rather poor. It might be good for professors to learn these skills and pass them along to their grad students, who will really need to know how to go out in the ‘real world’ and make opportunities for themselves. I like the idea about the sales pitch as well.

    Even for academics who’ve already locked down a tenured position in the best school they can expect to teach at, these skills will be useful in getting department funding, outside research funding, conference travel funds, etc.

    Like

    1. Agree on need for although one has the skills to come up with brief description of research on one’s own, and also practices them daily on grant proposals and so on. A commercial workshop is not required although it is of course good to have a short description ready at all times.

      Like

    2. “I’ve heard the employment situation for PhDs is rather poor. It might be good for professors to learn these skills and pass them along to their grad students, who will really need to know how to go out in the ‘real world’ and make opportunities for themselves. I like the idea about the sales pitch as well.Even for academics who’ve already locked down a tenured position in the best school they can expect to teach at, these skills will be useful in getting department funding, outside research funding, conference travel funds, etc.”

      – I hope this is a facetious comment because if it was written in earnest, I get seriously worried about how somebody with this degree of obnoxiousness will be able to get through life.

      Do you realize how inappropriate and offensive you are being? Jeez.

      Like

      1. I didn’t mean to be offensive. I guess I expressed myself poorly. I see the value in this kind of thing, and wish I’d understood it years sooner than I did. I think this is good networking skill, and I see people all the time who appear to be significantly hampered by lack of ability to do this kind of networking. Even if the workshop materials were stupid, the idea is good.

        Like

  3. I’m sick and tired of these gabby, perky failed salespeople who didn’t make it in actual sales and decided to invade academia instead.

    I’m sick of the idea that EVERYONE has to be some kind of gabby perky salesperson.

    Like

  4. To me, this reflects the pervasive ideology of our time. That is everything should be centered about capitalist notions of interaction. We’re told to sell ourselves, to take ownership for things and actions and to profit from everything we do. These language markers show what we truly believe in this country and how it shapes our outlooks and approaches in the world. What you’ve cited is one more piece of evidence.

    Like

    1. I apologize for the double posting. My phone didn’t inform me that it was already done. Please delete one of these. Thanks.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.