Whether you are at a networking event or meeting someone for the first time, you have about 60 seconds (that’s why it’s called an elevator pitch) to make an impression. You don’t just want to be memorable; you want to be unforgettable! Most people spend very little time thinking about and crafting their personal introduction. That is an amateur move, and not only can others tell when you are winging it, your credibility and professionalism slip down a notch or two every time you wing it.
So, what do you do? It’s a common question at any networking or social gathering. The most common response is to recite your job title and what you do. As you begin your recitation the listener hears what Charlie Brown hears when adults speak: blah, blah gibberish. Please realize when you take this common approach you will get common results. Why settle for ordinary when extraordinary is easily attainable? Take your elevator speech from lame to kick-ass in five easy steps.
Establish Good Rapport
1. When in person -- Make eye contact, smile and stand tall! Taking ownership of the space you inhabit is a quick and easy way to create rapport and establish an aura of authority and power. When virtual – have your video on, there is nothing more impersonal than talking to a blank screen with someone’s name. If you would rather not have video on, then at least have a nice, professional headshot.
Identify Yourself as a Problem Solver
2. Lead with the problem you solve not your title or profession. When asked “So what do you do, craft a response that speaks to the problem you solve or the results you produce rather than your job title.
Keep It Fresh
3. Prepare several different versions. Choose one or two results you produce or problems you solve then create several different versions of your speech which can be used in a wide variety of business, personal or social settings. Also vary lengths from 30 to 60 seconds. Including a story regarding results your product or service gave to one of your clients makes your pitch golden!
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
4. Practice, practice, practice and use a timer. Your delivery must be polished and roll off your tongue with ease. Practice until it becomes second nature, and you feel comfortable responding in several different scenarios. When attending a networking event where you have an opportunity to address the room, always stay within your allotted time. When the bell goes off, be respectful and finish up promptly. If you continue to drone on more than 1 or 2 additional seconds, people stop listening and begin to wonder why you are still talking.
Always Have a CTA
5. Always finish with a call-to-action CTA. This should never be a sales pitch. An invitation to get together for coffee or attend another networking event works well when you are in a one-on-one situation. It will get you much farther than a mini sales presentation. The exception when you are at a referral-based networking event. Most provide you an opportunity to address the entire room so take full advantage. Be specific. Ask for an introduction or referral to your ideal client.
Need more help crafting your elevator speech? Check out the show notes for a link to my “Kick-ass Elevator Speech Framework” with details and examples.
Yolanda Albergottie is the Director of Marketing and Downtown Expansion for WIN (Women In Networking) Cleveland and the Market Development Manager for BNI© (Business Network International) NE Ohio. Passionate about helping business owners grow through education and connections, she uses her company Local Network Connections LLC to provide mentoring, training and education. firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out her podcast: Five Easy Things the Podcast for more actionable tips and advice for how to live your best life.