Having a good elevator pitch is an essential skill when networking. Most networking groups will have a point in the meeting when you get to stand up and talk about yourself from somewhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes – the time it takes to ride from the ground floor to the top floor in an elevator. It’s essential in that time you deliver a summary of what you do in such a way that at the end people want to find out more about what you do and therefore be a step closer to buying from you.
Now there are lots of excellent resources out there about what to include. I really like the one on Mindtools
There are two important things you need to remember. Firstly, if you are going to a networking group, find out before hand how long you’ll be able to talk for.
And then make sure you’ve got a pitch that fits the time.
I’ve been to some networks where they ring a bell or buzzer when you’re up to your time limit and you get cut off there and then. If you’ve not got the best bit then all your preparation is wasted.
And I’ve been to other networks which are less strict but that’s not a good thing if someone is droning on for 5 minutes instead of the allocated 60 seconds. It’s disrespectful to the others in the room, especially if they are waiting to speak and are feeling nervous.
So how do you make sure you keep to time? I’m a firm believer that you should be able to deliver your pitch from memory and not need a piece of paper. After all, if you were in an elevator and someone asked you what you did, would you go rummaging through your pockets looking for a piece of paper? Thought not!
But I do think it’s a good idea in the first instance to write your pitch down and actually count the words. (If you are using Word and don’t know how to find out how many words you have typed then take a look at this short article from Microsoft)
And then pop over to SpeechInMinutes and see if you have enough or too many words. It even gives you results if you are a fast speaker!