Traditionally, if you were networking you needed to have a finely crafted elevator pitch. Certainly that was the advice I was given, just three years ago, when I started working for myself and went out networking.
The advice was to have a set pitch which lasted approximately 1 minute and should start with your name and company name and end the same way. In between should be a few sentences telling everyone who you work with, what you do and who you want to speak to! Well if you know me at all, you know I like to talk so I struggled like mad to reduce it all down into a couple of sentences.
Of course, no one told me at the time that I could be asked to introduce my self in anything from 30 seconds to 3 minutes! AARRRGHH… What happened to my carefully scripted pitch? Did I just say the first half? How did I expand it out if I needed to speak for longer. Oh the stress!
I decided to take the approach I have done for all my speaking (however short or long) and that was to speak from the heart. Of course I prepare beforehand and I know what words or phrases I want to get across but the rest just comes to me.
So, here are my tips for getting your elevator pitch right (regardless how long you have to talk!):
- Don’t try and copy someone else’s approach – find your own.
- Be yourself and bring your personality into the introduction.
- Stories or scenarios are great to illustrate a point you want to get across.
- Put some humour into your pitch (if appropriate) but be aware that it doesn’t offend anyone in the room.
- Have some words/phrases practiced that you want to get across – eg words that promote your brand!
- Ask a question?
- Remember to be as specific as you can when indicating who you want to talk to.
- Don’t try and list ALL your services/products in 1 minute – people won’t remember much. Keep the focus on ONE service/product for each introduction.
- If you need to read from a script (to build confidence) please DO so initially. Before you know it, you will have the confidence to say it without notes.
- Make eye contact and SMILE and have fun!
I would love to hear what your experiences are with elevator pitches/introductions. Do you love or hate them? Any more tips you have found that have been useful? Please comment below.