Networking Tips: When Good Elevator Pitches Go Bad
Networking can be awkward for everyone - yes, even for your Member Relations social butterflies, Cate and Scott! For that reason, we will offer basic networking tips every month to help you prepare for events, quell your anxieties, and learn to make the most of any networking opportunity.
Remember, it's all about building community and making connections that inspire deeper conversations!
If you're a working professional, chances are you're already aware of what an elevator pitch is and how to write one (and if not, check out this handy summary from The Balance, complete with examples and tips on crafting your own).
Having a well-written elevator pitch in your metaphorical back pocket is critical for communicating the main points, goals, mission, and value of your business in an effective, concise way.
However, if used incorrectly, the elevator pitch can actually be a detriment to your networking efforts.
Think back to the last networking event you attended. What was your strategy? Did you walk up to someone new, say, "Nice to meet you," roll directly into your elevator pitch, and then immediately pull out your business card? Or after that "Nice to meet you," did you ask the other person about their own work, position, professional interests, or exciting developments going on at their place of business that they might want to share?
One of the above strategies creates a dynamic, conversant environment where deeper connections can truly be made. The other, not so much - you can figure out which is which!
While there is a time and a place for your elevator pitch, the best opportunity to roll it out is not immediately upon entering a conversation (unless you're prompted). Using the elevator pitch this way transforms it from a beneficial summary of your business and professional goals into a conversational crutch. Relax, take a breath, and learn a little bit about the other person first to create a considerate, welcoming tone for the conversation. The elevator pitch is useful as a template for talking about your business and goals effectively - it should not be rehearsed as a monologue, and should always leave room for the other person to respond.
Remember that your ultimate goal at networking events is to cultivate relationships with others based on shared interests and professional or business goals - if a great connection is made, there will be plenty of time for your elevator pitch later!