- Posted by Alice Morgan
- On November 29, 2017
- 0 Comments
Networking is critical for all of us in business and when you’re out there meeting people – potential clients, colleagues and associates – the first question we all ask and get asked is, “what exactly is it that you do?” It is – after all – a very obvious question, a perfect conversation starter, an ice-breaker but, most of all, a great opportunity. A lot can rest on our ability to provide a clear, coherent answer in a short space of time. Enter the “elevator pitch”.
So, what do you do?
Purely hypothetical – and in no way representative of what we’ve been hearing this week in Zurich – here are some categories of response.
- Perfect elevator pitch
If you can articulate what you do to an uninitiated lift (sorry, elevator) companion in the 30-120 seconds it takes to get from level 0 to level 10 – leaving them with your business card and the ability to explain what you to others – you’ve reached Networking Nirvana.
- Less-than-perfect elevator pitch
It’s what most of us manage. Try as we might, getting total strangers to understand what we do in well-rehearsed, pithy phrases in a few seconds is a big challenge. Why? Most of us are carving out niches for ourselves in highly diversified sub-sectors. It takes time to set the context and simplify the jargon. So, after a brave attempt at distilling complex (but obviously incredibly useful) concepts – ping – the metaphorical doors open and the moment’s lost. But you tried and well, better luck next time, eh? You learn from this. We have and are still learning.
- And then there’s plain rambling
We’ve all experienced this. You ask the “what do you do again” question and instantly regret it. Five, or – if you’re really unlucky – ten minutes of nodding encouragingly later, and you’re none the wiser. I think – hand on heart – none of us can claim we haven’t been the rambler…
Why is being able to articulate what you do so important?
It’s actually got nothing fundamentally to do with networking. Of course, that is important, but it comes later. It has to do with your underlying business focus.
If you think about it, if you can clearly articulate what you do in under two minutes (even better, under one), it means you have a clearly defined offering, you know your audience and what their pain points are. You know what resonates with them.
And once you have this, you can then go on to refine how you communicate your offering through a short, pithy statement, applying it consistently to:
- Your website
- Flyers and other promotional material
- Every press release and blog you create
- Your email signature
- PPC adcopy and SEO meta descriptions
- Your Powerpoint template
- Meeting people in elevators
So how do you get this clear business focus?
Ah. Now that’s a bigger topic – one we’ll deal with in the next article.
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