The IT conference ‘elevator sell’ test

Now that In Real Life (IRL) industry conferences and other annual professional gatherings start to take place more regularly in the wake of pandemic cancellations, just how important is it to be 'on message' and be able to explain what your employer does succinctly and deftly once a person dons the customary lanyards, badges and name-tags?

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Now that In Real Life (IRL) conferences are back, we can stop and consider the human experience that often happens when you travel up and down in the lift/elevator during a technology symposium.

You step in, stare at the floor, pull out your smartphone and generally do everything possible to avoid eye contact with the other people in the ‘car’. You do all this while simultaneously also trying not to burp, following the generously stuffed breakfast burrito that you have just eaten.

Hey, what’s the conference?

Inevitably, you find that you’re sharing your space with some hyper-pumped non-conference individual who has come straight from the gym, still wearing training shoes and several layers of Lycra. They spy your lanyard and say: “Oh hey, what is a [insert vendor name] and what’s the conference?”

You then have two floors to explain what is generally some fairly deep data science-related chunk of technology. So you have two choices. You can a) be sympathetic and polite and say, “Oh, it’s a software company with some AI”... or whatever the company hosting you (or you work for) specialises in.

Or optionally, b) you can go for a more complex, “It’s a cloud-centric business process automation company that builds software robots to perform discrete repeatable workflow elements inside modern application use case environments...” or some other description based upon which event you are at. Which is more honest, but is more likely to confuse.

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