So what is an Elevator Pitch? Well, an Elevator Pitch is essentially your response to the age old question asked of “What do you do?” An Elevator Pitch should answer this question in a few sentences in less than a minute or two with the purpose of 1. Informing them about what you do exactly; 2. Wanting them to know more; 3. Getting potential sales leads or follow ups.
There are three different Elevator Pitches I am going to introduce you to. All of them are very simple. From these, with practice, you can then develop your own unique elevator pitch. Remember that as part of your elevator pitch, you should be introducing your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), to differentiate your business from your competitors.
Try each of your pitches as much as possible. Use as many networking events as possible to practice each of your pitches to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change your pitch. Identify what catches the interest of people and what doesn’t. What makes them want to know more? Soon, you will have your elevator pitch down and it will confidently roll off your tongue as second nature when you are asked “What do you do?”
2. Business Cards- always have business cards with you when attending. There are exceptions to this rule. I will go into more detail about what your business card should have in a future post.
3. Elevator Pitch– An elevator pitch is a quick spiel that in a few seconds tells people what you do. I will go into more detail about what types of elevator pitches there are and how you can create one for yourself.
4. Name Tag- I personally have my own name tag I take to events- I have several in fact for the different organisations I may represent! These are incredibly important as they allow people you have never met to automatically know who you are and who you represent. It helps to break the ice of meeting someone new if they already know who you are before they meet you.
5. Dress to Impress- You only get one chance at a first impression! How you present yourself is the first impression people will have of you. Dress to suit the event. Again, I will go into more detail about how to dress and present yourself for your event in a later post.
6. Cleanliness and odour- you might think this is a no brainer, but everyone is different. What is acceptable to one person is not necessarily acceptable to another. We will discuss this in a future post. But remember you are trying to connect with others and how others perceive you from how you present yourself could damage your personal brand (we will discuss personal brand later also).
7. Eating- I generally try to eat before I go to a networking event. Many networking events serve finger foods such as dim sims, small sandwiches, mini spring rolls, mini quiches etc with dipping sauces. This is eaten standing up while networking. Your only source of cleaning is a napkin! Eat before you go so you’re not talking with a mouth full of food; shaking hands and handling business cards with oily fingers; and spilling sweet chilli sauce over yourself and others; hunger pains from lack of food- all while holding a drink and other documents.
8. Drinking-I have a general rule that I don’t drink alcohol at work events. One is to do with the smell of beer on your breathe. The other is at some events, you may have one too many and be the person that does something stupid everyone will remember (personal brand!). Also, avoid glasses filled with ice unless sipping through a straw. A glass with ice can be embarrassing if it makes the drink spill on you when you’re about to take a sip.
9. Logistics- Work out how you are getting there and how long it will take. Will you be paying for parking? What time does public transport run? How far do you have to walk and is it up hill? Knowing in advance could save you problems later. Don’t forget your return trip also!
10. Public Speaking and Practice- I say public speaking as you are likely to be meeting people on a ‘cold call’ basis. Some people dread talking to people they don’t know. Don’t give up if you don’t feel you did well your first time or you got butterflies in your stomach when talking to people. Learning how to network comes with practice. Your spiel, your approach, timing, when to be serious or to be funny, how to read people. We will go over this more in a later post.
I hope this helps you prepare for your next networking event. We will discuss the above items in another post.
So you want to meet new people to network with. But where are they? And which is the right one for you?
Ideally, ask someone you know who is already networking to give you some ideas on where to network. Meet Up, for example, is an online place to find where people are meeting for different interest groups in a particular area. I strongly recommend this if you are new to anything, anywhere!
Below are some different organisations and types of ways to network.
Speed Networking | Chamber of Commerce | Business Networking Inc | Sporting Clubs | Exclusive Clubs | Industry Events | Meet Up | Art Exhibitions | School Events | Community Events and Organisations | Private or Exclusive Events | Online Forums and Communities | Social Media Linked In- Twitter- Facebook | Volunteering | Lions Club | Quota | Rotary | Seminars and Workshops | Book Clubs | Cooking Classes.
Remember, networking means different things to different people. Ask yourself the following questions
1. Who am I wanting to meet/what is my purpose? Business or pleasure? Are you wanting to meet new clients; new suppliers; new friends; colleagues from your industry; mentors; new business partners; investors; employees; people who are in a particular industry or have common interests? Don’t always assume that for business you need to go to events where only your potential clients are.
2. How many networking events do you want to attend each week or month or year? How frequently do you want to attend any one networking event? I can literally go to a networking event every day for almost every day of the year. But I wouldn’t get much work done if I did!
3. What are my limitations? Cost? Travel time/distance/location? Time to attend? Time to contribute to the organisation? Some networking events cost money to attend, not including the additional costs of meals, drinks, contributions etc. Where the event is and the time commitment to attend is also a factor. Some networking events are not just networking but also part of an organisations official meeting.
Networking is about meeting people. Don’t immediately dismiss an event because those attending are not the people you want to meet. Getting to know these people and making them a part of your network might open you to other people who you are wanting to meet.
If you want to find me, I have my “Where I Will Be” page letting people know what events I am attending for business. I also link a little blog I do on the event as well.
Personally, I use Meet Up to meet new people once a week for both the personal and professional interaction. I have made this part of my goals for 2014.
So now you can find events to network at. But what do you need to do to start networking? Find out in my next post!
Networking is a great way to meet new people and make new contacts. Here are 7 reasons why you should network
Build your network of contacts- Networking allows you to expand your existing contacts, increasing your pool of clients and suppliers. I have met numerous people by networking.
Learn new things- By meeting new people, I have learnt new things about my industry and especially about the needs of my customers.
Build your profile and professional brand- Become more recognised by your peers, clients, suppliers and the community. Build your professional brand (We will discuss your personal or professional brand in another post later). I have been asked to join committee’s, speak at conferences and become involved with local community groups because of networking.
Gain access to powerful and influential people- Through my networks I have had meetings with some very powerful and influential people in government and business. Networking lets you meet people you ordinarily wouldn’t get access to by walking up and starting a conversation.
Make strong relationships upon which you can leverage- I met the secretary of a very influential person. By making a good relationship with her, I was able to gain her trust to give me an introduction to her boss.
Build self esteem and confidence- When I first started I was nervous. But many of the people who network felt exactly the same way when they first started. With practice you will learn to network with the best of them.
Have Fun!- Meeting new people is a whole lot of fun and a great way to make new friends.