Networking is an essential career skill that can lead to new contacts, better relationships and more opportunities. Despite this, most people don't prepare for the unexpected situations where you happen to bump into people inside and outside the workplace.
In this article, we explore why elevator pitches are so important and look at some tips on how to create and give them.
Most people haven't created elevator pitches (short descriptions of yourself, your work or your company). When they bump into someone new, this usually leads to one of the following results:
Now, notice the difference when people with prepared elevator pitches bump into someone new:
One person starts a conversation and asks a question about the other's work. The second person answers with a prepared elevator pitch and ends by asking a question. The first person replies with their prepared elevator pitch.
This usually has one of the following results:
Notice that in all three elevator pitch interactions, both people have at least learned the other person's name and area of expertise. They have also created the starting point of a relationship that could possibly develop in future.
However, in all three non-elevator pitch interactions, the most we come away with is a memory of someone's face (and perhaps what the weather was like on that day).
There are, of course, more benefits to having an elevator pitch than gaining a new contact.
You're looking for a job. You're at a job fair and you see a company you know well. It's somewhere you'd love to work and would really like to get an interview. As you're walking towards their representative, you start thinking about what you're going to say.
You have a great idea for a project. You know this will be great for the company, but so far you haven't managed to get anyone to really listen to you. One day, you're finishing work and move towards the exit. As the door is closing behind you, you see someone running towards you. You catch the door before it closes and open it for them. The person happens to be the company CEO, who thanks you and asks for your name.
You're a salesperson. You've been trying to get the attention of a major client for a long time now without success. One day, you're getting your haircut when you overhear the customer next to you talking. You discover that this person is a manager at a top company in your industry.
You manage your own start-up company. You're working out at the gym and someone who is new there asks you for directions to the changing rooms. Afterwards, you stop by the cafe outside to have something to eat and see the person again. He recognises you and starts a conversation where he mentions that he's an investor in your industry.
In all four case studies, you have one opportunity to make a good impression. If you can describe yourself, your project, your product/service or your company clearly, you may get a new opportunity. If your description is unclear, you probably won't get this opportunity.
It's never too late to start networking. And creating a perfect elevator pitch is a great place to start.
This article is part of the free Networking Basics ecourse at The Language Professional. Learn more about this free ecourse.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.