Tuesday, 05 March 2019
Our networking 101 series will cover every element of growing your database of business connections, from finding the right people to connect with, to working the room and building meaningful relationships. In previous editions we’ve covered getting the thinking right and building your connections. In part three we guide you through crafting an introduction that will make you shine.
People rarely articulate what they do in a clear, engaging or motivating way, and often come unstuck when they’re asked what they’re working on during that classic elevator moment. So by spending some time crafting your pitch, you’ll automatically stand out from the crowd.
How you answer the question “So, what do you do?” will depend on your environment, whether you’re alone or in a group, who’s asking the question, how much time you have, and, of course, what it is you want to convey about yourself. But whether you’re using your pitch to tell someone what you’re all about (your career pitch), or someone at an event why you’re a potential connection worth knowing (your client pitch), you’ll have only a short window of opportunity to pack a punch.
Imagine you’re at a networking event and you’re getting to know someone who you’d love to start building a relationship with. Perhaps you’ve quickly identified that they’re a “connector” and could help open doors for you, that they work in an area of your industry you’re keen to learn more about, or they’re a potential new customer of your business. Why should they be interested in you and what you do? To answer that question, ask yourself:
Now slot your answers into a version of the following statement that makes sense for your business.
I advise/consult/something else with (target customer), who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category) that (one key benefit). Unlike (competition), the product is (unique differentiator).
I present webinars to women in business around the world who are members of the everywomanNetwork, an online portal of personal development tools. Unlike many other women’s networks we cross all sectors, entrepreneurs, and women in the workplace in over 100 countries, creating targeted advice that can help them progress up the career ladder in their chosen industry.
Don’t be tempted to add in your job title - instead, focus on benefits, case studies and the broader issues your company and role is challenged with solving.
Keep playing around with your elevator pitch until it sounds like something you’d be completely comfortable using. Practice saying it out loud until you sound natural and enthusiastic.
Once you’ve delivered your pitch, use your instinct to determine the best call to action to follow up with. If they seem interested, the best follow up might be a question – is your area of particular interest to them and if so why? If you sense they’re looking to meet lots of people, you could suggest that you swap business cards and connect via LinkedIn so that they can continue getting to know others around the room.
The more you practise your elevator pitch the more natural it will sound, and the more you consider what you’re looking for out of networking events, the better you can tweak your pitch to work in all sorts of different situations.
In the next part of Networking 101, we’ll look at the strategies successful business people use for making the most of a networking event.