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. Let’s discuss the value of your elevator pitch and first impressions in achieving your goals in life and business.
Here are eight tips to help you polish your pitch for your next networking event. Then we’ll discuss how to make a good first impression…
1. 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!
2. 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.
3. 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 rights advocate. Mention any specializations without falling into jargon and make sure to steer away from too much detail.
4. 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.
5. 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?
6. 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.
7. 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.
Now, let’s move on to making a good first impression. These are three rules to help you with this…
Making a great first impression isn’t always easy, but it’s well worth attempting as much as you possibly can. To help you make it happen more often, here are three simple rules you should always follow. While they are not the only great advice on making a good first impression, they are the things that will have the biggest impact – whether you get them right or wrong. I suggest you get them right 🙂
Rule #1 – Dress To Impress
Pay attention to what you’re wearing. This may seem very superficial, but that’s what first impressions are all about. They are a first, quick judgment based on things like appearance. Overdress just a little if it’s an important first meeting like going to a job interview or meeting the future in-laws for the first time.
At the very least make sure that what you’re wearing is neat and flattering. Don’t go crazy and when in doubt go for something somewhat conservative. You can always let your personality shine after you’ve made that great first impression.
Rule #2 – Be On Time
Another very important thing to remember is to always be on time. It makes you look prepared and reliable. But there’s another important reason for this. The world is made up of two types of people. The first group is a stickler for time. Being late is one of their biggest pet peeves. The other group has a more loose interpretation of being on time and doesn’t mind waiting for someone for a few minutes, or being late themselves. Time management and productivity skills go hand in hand.
The problem is that you never know what camp the person you’re about to meet will fall into ahead of time. So be prepared and make sure you get there on time or even a little early. It will look good, no matter how the person you’re meeting will feel about time and it will definitely keep you from making a bad impression with a time stickler.
Rule #3 – Think Before You Speak
Last but not least, think before you speak. It’s easy to get nervous and just prattle on about anything and everything. It makes you look nervous and silly. Even worse, if you don’t think before you talk it’s very easy to put your foot in your mouth. Trust me, I’ve done it plenty of times. It’s not a good feeling and definitely a quick and easy way to ruin that first impression.
I hope this information will be valuable to you with sharing your elevator pitch and first impressions with the people you most want to be connected with in your life and business.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to make your first income online at 3 Day eBiz (Save with Code: MAKEITHAPPEN) and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.