Guest post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
"What do you do?" Seems an easy question, right? Maybe not if you're at a networking meeting or a pet conference like BlogPaws 2013. When someone asks what you do you want to have a phrase or sentence or two that rolls off your tongue that lets the asker know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. If you attend networking events to garner new clients or meet new friends, you need to have an elevator speech prepared. Consider, even if you meet someone at a conference and they aren't a good fit for you and your business, they may know someone who is and if you've crafted a memorable elevator speech, chances are they will remember you later on!
Here are my tips for putting together your elevator speech:
- Write it down but don’t speak your pitch the way you’ve written it. Writing your elevator pitch will likely sound very stilted. For example: “I help business owners craft their media message and assist them in disseminating it to their clientele.” What?! Be simple and say, “I’m a social media consultant and blogger.” If they want to know more, they’ll ask. With the first sentence, chances are you will see their eyes glazing over and they’ll make a dash toward the buffet.
- Even if you work in a high tech field, use low tech verbiage. Your business card or your website may have some high falutin’ phrases but consider how your words sound to the listener. You want to be approachable, right?
- Turn the question upside down and ask a question right back! As an example, and I read this somewhere but honestly cannot remember where, but it stuck with me. If you’re an organizational management consultant (ie a professional organizer) you could turn the question around and say, “You know how you keep wishing you could see the top of your desk and take care of all that paperwork? I’m a professional organizer and I help business owners see light at the end of the stack.” Clever and it makes the “what do you do” more interactive and memorable.
- Practice makes perfect. You don’t want to go to a networking event and have to read your pitch from your sweaty palm, do you? Practice in front of a mirror. Record yourself and play it back. You shouldn’t hesitate on what it is you do. If you’re hesitant imagine how your potential client will feel. Don’t forget to ask a trusted colleague to listen to your pitch and offer pointers.
- Be willing to toss the pitch aside and simply have a conversation. Pet people are a casual bunch and you’ll make more fur-iends by being approachable than you will by having a memorable elevator pitch.
Do you have a pitch? Will you start working on one before the BlogPaws conference?