You are at a networking event with 40 people and are asked to “introduce yourself to the group.”
You stand up, say your name and notice how many faces are all looking at you. Here’s your chance to impress. But you can’t remember what you were going to say! You fear failure, so this fear builds on itself and then very nearly paralyzes you. You mutter some sentences just to get it over with, and then sit down.
Or maybe you want to avoid forgetting something, so you start rambling. Others are glancing at their phones, and some are even thumb stabbing now, but you can’t seem to find the right closing line, so onward you plod.
Both of these can be avoided by some careful preparation.
What matters is establishing eye contact with listeners, speak slowly, not droning in monotone, speaking with vocal inflection, memorize rather than winging it, and don’t fidget.
Here are the elements of a successful elevator pitch.
- Give your name, the company name and location, and quick statement of what you do. Brief–not a list of everything. A poignant opening quote can be effective here and can create a fun moment for the group.
- Tell a story of what makes your company different. Ask a “hooking” question like, “Are any of these important problems for your business…?” Continue with, “We help companies that are (struggling with), (concerned about), (looking to), (worried about), etc. What pains is the business facing? How do you present a solution that both saves time and makes money for the client? Share a story of a recent or specific example of your business solving a pressing problem.
- Describe your ideal client or referral. “A good referral for us would is…” A short description of your ideal client may resonate with anyone there, and someone who matches up well will likely approach you later. The goal of good networking is to make introductions.
- Ask for business. Here is what lawyers call The Ask. Say something like, “So if you see, hear of or know someone who has questions we can answer, won’t you please give them my card?” Do this, and there is a distinct chance that your phone will ring with a potential new client just a few days later.
- Finish with a memory hook. “We work with clients who need help…” Remind them of your name and company. A concluding joke or moment of levity is superb here. People remember the first and last things they hear when listening, so give them something to hang on to. Close with a tagline that’s pithy, memorable and relevant, “building a smarter planet, just do it, don’t leave home without it.”
These ideas and the five elements will help you design an effective pitch for networking. Remember, you have to design it only once. After that, it gets only better with repeated deliveries.