You step in the elevator and find your manager waiting. Maybe she asks what’s new, or how your current project is going, or how your kids are doing at baseball. All of these seem like fodder for small talk. But all of them can be so much more.

Opportunities to present yourself are constantly popping up – and more often than not, you won’t be prepared with notes or a deck of slides. A presentation is more than you think. It can be formal or on-the-go. They can be in front of one or a group. A two-minute elevator ride or a two-day workshop. The common denominator here: opportunity to promote, influence and persuade. 

So how do we recognize these opportunities and take advantage? You’ve probably been overlooking them every day:

·     “How about a quick update on X?”

·     “Hey, what is new in the business? How’s everything going?”

·     Your manager’s door is open and he or she says hello

·     A person of influence asks you, “So, what are you working on?”

It sounds simple, but the hectic pace of our day-to-day lives, both at home or in the office, often distracts us from taking advantage of these presentation moments. Take a minute (really – just a minute) to re-think how you might respond to these situations not as casual small talk but as a presentation. Will you re-phrase how you talk about your work? Emphasize some of your strengths and interests? Think about what you want your audience knowing about you.

This week, try to spot these opportunities and make the most of them. There are moments for you to present yourself, your ideas, and influence action every single day.