Do you go to networking events and find them to be quite useless as you never get any financial gain out of attending? This is not my experience. There is a lot you can do to ensure that you get business from such events.
A very important element of a networking event is your elevator pitch.
Most networking coordinators invite the participants to introduce themselves: “Please state your name and what you do; say something about yourself and do so within 30 seconds”. Honestly, how many participants use this opportunity to say something worth remembering? Put differently, why are nearly all of these “elevator pitches” so bland and forgetful although the speakers might be very interesting individuals?
Most pitches are boring as they are delivered from the speaker’s point of view. Who among the audience cares who these strangers are, what their professions are and what products or services they have? You only care about yourself and your needs until after you have connected with someone.
Listeners really have a difficult task. First, they have to remember the speaker’s name, and sometimes a complicated company name. Then they, very often, have to listen to a lengthy barrage of words about products or services that the listener still needs to decode by hurriedly thinking: Could I use it? What problems do they solve? What is the conceivable application to me?
Before I’m able to figure out what the speaker can do for me, the next participant gets up and delivers another forgettable ramble. I usually diligently take notes about what two or three participants say and then give up – until I hear something that makes an impact.
Why is it that only a few individuals manage to make one sit up and take notice?
- The memorable ones do not start by providing their titles, job descriptions and bland information about their products and services.
- They start by striking a deep cord by verbalising a desire or need among the listeners. They define problems they solve. They mention solutions and benefits.
- And they use everyday terms which everyone understands. They do not use jargon.
- They prompt you with a call to action.
- And they offer their names and that of their company at the end of their brief pitches as listeners by then are used to their voices and can hear exotic names.
Invariably I’m eager to meet a person who is able to assist me in some way. I must talk to this person today!
So stop saying: “I am Mary Hollingsworth of the Performer Placement Agency. I am an HR specialist and run an employee placement agency. I place all kinds of staff. If you need staff, call me.”
Rather say: “Have you experienced grave difficulties in recruiting the right employee for a critical job? Did you deeply regret making a costly mistake? Do you hate going through 10 interviews knowing that your next appointment might also be a mistake?
Well, I have a battery of professional tests. I check references and track records.
What are my results? Ninety percent of my placements are still – after 5 years – with my happy clients. Don’t make another costly mistake. Let’s exchange cards today.
My name is Mary Hollingsworth and I run the Performer Placement Agency.”
More than one pitch
Prepare a number of pitches. A short version of that you would use if you have only 15 seconds. And different pitches if you serve a number of markets. And one for pitching at investors.
Prepare different versions on paper and practice them.
Yes, practice and then practice again – at home and not when you get up. And rewrite your pitch until you find people come over to you and ask you for your business card and an appointment.
What’s my elevator pitch?
“I’m in the business of assisting entrepreneurs to create businesses. There’s a huge difference between a job and a business. A business is an asset and a job is not. You can sell a well-run business; you cannot sell your job. You know that this is so.
Convert your job into a business in 15 to 20 months. Talk to me today. Take the first step.
My name is Albert , I’m a business coach and my company is called ABPLAN.”
Set of three posts
This post is the first of a set of three and it covered essential preparation prior to a networking event. The next post covers what to do during a networking event and the last post, what to do after a networking event.
See you at the next networking event!