Perfecting The Dreaded Networking Pitch

You’ve got 60 seconds to wow the room with who you are and what you do …


You know the moment … you’re in the room …. everyone is going around introducing themselves and to make it worse it’s not in a random order…. you have been counting down the people in front of you, barely listening to what anyone else does because your turn is in 4 – “Right, what was I going to say?” 3 – “Must remember to tell them about my project” 2– “Oh shit I hate this, I’m after the next guy” – “My heart is pumping, my throat is tight, my hands are shaking” ..  SPEAK!

It’s not just formal networking events where this happens, that pressure to be interesting, succinct, and clear in answer to “What do you do?” can come at any moment – but let’s focus on those circumstances where you know that, in reality, everyone is pitching.  A networking event can seem a blessing in this instance, because it’s obvious, it’s a requirement.  There are other situations where it happens too – at conference, seminars, trade-shows – even if you’re not pitching your business, you’re pitching who you are and what you do.  Whether it’s to get clients, or angle for a better job … when you pitch you need to sound like you like who you are, or what you do, and not be apologising for it.

There are lots of reasons people hate delivering the networking pitch, and many ways your body works against you when you’re there.  Perhaps your heart-rate increases, your throat goes tight or dry, your mind races or goes blank, your hands or knees start to shake, you um and err all over the place, you go red in the face, get sweaty, or any other number of effects that nerves and uncertainty create.

You may be glad to know that this does affect most people, when I was a guest at a BNI meeting last week my hands were shaking at the end of my 45 seconds.  This is because I had a lot to say, 45 seconds to say it in, and was trying a new approach.  Now, obviously, I have a lot of tools and techniques I use to help me manage the effects of my body and not let it affect what I am saying, or how I’m saying it – I have to practice what I preach!

The trick is in not letting your body affect you so much
that it ruins the overall effect of what you are trying to do.

I say ‘do’ rather than ‘say’ deliberately, because (as any actor who has worked with the concept of ‘actioning’ will tell you) you say what you say to have an affect on people, to influence them, to create an impact, to ‘do’ something to them through your words, in order to help them take action and come to you for what you have to offer.

So I ask you.  Next time you know you’re going to be pitching;

* Who are you talking to? Be specific in who you need to connect with, and remember they might not be in the room, but the people in the room might know the perfect person for you.

* What is important to you about what you do? Who does it affect? What effect does it have in people’s lives? How do you help others? Why do you care?

* What effect do you want to have?  What is the end result of your 60-second pitch? If you’ve only got 30, 45, or 60 seconds to make an impact, or deliver a message, about who you are and what you do – what are the most important impressions you want to leave your audience with?

* Why should they care? How does it benefit other people’s lives?

Do you see how none of these questions focus on YOU … YOU don’t matter to your audience – THEY DO.  So stop worrying about how you look, how you sound (although you do need to be heard), and what others think about you … and start focusing on how you help others, what you are passionate about with what you do, or why it is important – Here are some things that might help you create your next networking pitch:

1) Choose ONE thing you want to focus on for that event/meeting – give people ONE, simple thing to remember to ask you about later

2) Remember why that one thing is important and how it helps others – focus on that rather than your ‘performance’

3) PRACTICE YOUR PITCH … with a stopwatch … seriously! If it’s formal networking you go to – get a stopwatch and time it – know where to breathe, what you’re saying & what order it’s in.

4) Give them a Call to Action – or an action to do as you speak – it helps them remember you

5) BREATHE … as always … breathe before you speak, while you speak, and when you sit down.

If you’d like to work on honing, or improving your networking pitch then come and take part in my FREE 5-day challenge next week.  The event is happening on Facebook in my group and I’ll also be posting the highlights on Linked-In here’s the event invitation

I will be in the group, live, every day – so you can ask questions and get clarity – and I’ll be there to give you specific feedback on your pitch if you want to record it and put it in the group.  It’s a closed group so no-one else other than those there supporting you will see.

We will be working on

* What lies beneath what you want to say

* What is important about what you are saying

* Who matters in this?

* How to remember what you want to say

* Getting it done in the time allowed

Feel free to share the free five-day challenge with your friends and I’ll see you soon. Here’s the event link – sign up now


Words Make Waves: Speak With The Power of Your Whole Voice