You probably know how important networking is for maximizing your career. But it’s not always enjoyable. You can make networking a whole lot less painful by being prepared and by having your personal elevator pitch rehearsed and ready to go.
Here are eight tips to help you polish your pitch for your next networking event.
- Keep it punchy
A good elevator pitch should be no more than 45 seconds (yes, the average length of an elevator ride). It should be interesting, memorable, and brief, and you should feel comfortable delivering it. It should sound natural and not like an elevator pitch!
- Keep it focused
You can tailor your elevator pitch to the event. Are you there representing your organization or there to get your next sale or your next job? Keep your two- or three-line pitch focused on that objective. If the person you’re talking to is from the same sector or went to your college, include that to get their attention. If you have an existing connection, you can start to build the relationship there.
- Mention your career experience or goals
Be clear about your experience or your business goals. Tell them you’ve worked in 3D printing or horse-breaking for however many years, or that you’re an entrepreneur or a human right advocate. Mention any specializations without falling into jargon and make sure to steer away from too much detail.
- Mention your qualifications
If you have a diploma of jurisprudence or an MBA, mention them. If you’ve just graduated, you can specify your college major. You might want to include any significant achievements, leadership skills, or standout strengths.
- Highlight what makes you unique
Think of what makes you stand out. Do you speak other languages? Have you worked or volunteered overseas? What unique qualities or experiences make you memorable?
- Include a question
Your elevator pitch isn’t a party piece that just finishes, and that’s it. It’s an invitation to continue the conversation. You should consider including an open-ended question, perhaps asking about the other person’s company or an opportunity to speak again.
- Slow down!
In your eagerness to get your elevator pitch across, it’s easy to speak too fast or even appear desperate to impress. Remember to breathe, slow down, and smile! Make eye contact and allow the other person to respond.
Above all, once you’ve written your elevator pitch, you should rehearse and refine until it’s second nature. Practice repeatedly with your partners, a friend, or even your dog. Practice in front of the mirror and observe your expression and body language. What image are you projecting? You want to look calm, confident and engaging.