Making Your 40 Seconds Networking Pitch Count In 2016
Networking – every second counts
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been networking for years or if this is your first time on your scene – the 40 second pitch can be nerve-racking for all of us. After all, you’ve got to stand up in front of a room full of people, some or all of whom might be complete strangers, and explain what your business does in under a minute. The time given for the elevator pitches varies between networking groups – some, like us, give you just 40 seconds, while others give you 60 or even 90. If you go over that time, you may well be subjected to a timer, a bell or just a good old fashioned glare that screams ‘get on with it!’ Who wouldn’t be nervous? So to get your 2016 networking off to a flying start, here a few tips for making your 40 seconds with 10-12 really count.
Who Are You?
This is the most fundamental part of networking in general but pitching in particular – making sure everyone I the room knows who you are, what you do and how you can help your customers. You would be amazed at how many people forget to say their name, or the same of their company in their 40 second pitch. Instead they jump right into ‘I sell” leaving the group trying to figure out the rest. So start your pitch with your name and business name, and a 3 or 4-word summary of what you do. To reinforce this and help people remember you, repeat your name and company name at the end of your pitch. By doing this you have given the group all of the essential information, allowing them to ask questions or make recommendations later.
A problem a lot of people have when they first start networking is the tendency to waffle on about what they do. When in a one to one setting this can be easily managed through conversation, but in your 40 seconds it’s a bit different. 40 Seconds is not a very long time, and people tend to try and cram everything in as quickly as possible. So here’s our tip – don’t even try. Instead, plan ahead and think about one aspect of your business that you want to promote. Choose one service to talk about, or pick one type of client you are looking for, and talk about that. This means you can go into more depth about that topic and stimulate some questions from other people in the room. Remember, you will have the chance to chat to everyone in depth after the 40 seconds are done, so don’t panic if you can’t talk about everything.
Have A Clear Message
As we mentioned above, 40 seconds isn’t a long time to explain what you’re looking for, so you need to make sure your message is clear and concise. If you are at the meeting to connect with a specific type of business, tell the group that. If they know what you’re looking for then they are much more likely to be able to help you. It will also help you make the most of your networking. So before each meeting, decide exactly what you want to gain from the meeting or how you want to help the other group members, and make that very clear in your pitch.
Finally – Remember To Breathe!
If you’re like me, when you get nervous you might sometimes forget to breathe. Some people talk very quickly, others get shaky voices and some fidget. Firstly, understand that everyone in the room knows what those nerves feel like, and absolutely no one will judge you for it. Secondly, and most importantly, remember to breathe. Take a deliberate pause between each sentence and allow yourself to breathe out and in again. This will steady your nerves and also slow you down, making sure the group can understand what you’re saying and absorb it.
Networking groups are friendly places where professionals can get together to share ideas, collaborate and help each others businesses grow. A part of that dynamic is ensuring everyone in the room understands what you do, how you can help the people they know, and what value you bring. A good 40 second pitch takes practice, so it may take a few times to perfect yours, but keep going and trying new things, and you will hit your own sweet spot.