I’m teaching others how to do a two-minute elevator pitch.
I have to admit, I recently went to an event a bit unprepared. I saw the issue coming when more and more other coaches (competition!) entered the hall. It was like a movie scene. The potential clients came streaming towards us as if they had actually put some thought into it. I ended up chatting with one woman. Then the coordinator asked us to pitch. I wanted to use storytelling but it did not fit into her structure and (damn!) I had not even written down what to say. It was a matter of not being prepared because I had no clue what to expect there.
I focussed on being relaxed and present in the moment.
I said, “I’m Angie Weinberger. I work with international professionals in Zurich and Basel and help them find work or start a business. And I recently discovered that I like nerds.”
A few giggles. I managed to make them remember me.
Out of 16 potential clients, I spoke to seven. Many referred to themselves as introverts or nerds. I’m not sure if any of these introverts will work with me but I had a great time. I thought “I will need to walk my talk on networking”. I first of all asked every woman if she had a business card. Only the last one had one.
Then I asked a few questions. Often I found that they needed a piece of information that I could easily send to them. I asked them for their email IDs. In such situations my mobile batteries are flat, so I wrote the email IDs into a notebook. This is old school but it worked. I also took notes on the information they gave about themselves.
I managed to take home six email ID’s and promised different follow-ups. This might not lead to any business but it was a good practice for me and for them. It showed me again how many professionals go to an event unprepared.
You can make an impression at such an event only if you are a helpful resource and if you put your own agenda on hold. You want the new contact to remember you until you follow up with them. I stayed until the end. My feet and back hurt but I smiled on.
Robots, Recruiters, and Rain
I also feel even more empathic with you after this experience. “Selling” yourself is hard work. Most of the times, we do not learn to become a sales person of our own professional package. Not only do we have to develop a great and consistent branding. The message has to be clear to a large target audience too. We will need to go through several filters of robots and recruiters. When we finally managed to land an interview it most certainly is a day with rain (or snow), we spill salad sauce on our freshly ironed shirt and the train is late for once. When you are in such a position, there is only one thing you can do: breathe out, have a glass of still water and speak slow. Most of all: Be present.
Become a “Superstar” in your Niche
In order to get out of the sales position, you want to become a superstar so you are top-of-mind of a potential manager and do not really have to rely on the cumbersome application process. You want to be in a position where you come up in the top ten of the manager’s mind at least. Sheryl Sandberg wrote in “Lean in” that you need to write down your career goal as being #1 in a profession (globally). I am not saying that you have to be #1 globally but you might want to be in a top ten position in your geographical area and your niche. What’s the point of being #1 in Digital Media when you don’t want to move to Abu Dhabi, London or Texas for your next role? Let’s be optimistic and ambitious but stay a bit humble.
Learn to Become a Resource
You have tools, templates, and knowledge to share. You have experiences, tips and contacts you can help others with. Learn to become a resource as if everyone you connect with was a colleague or a friend. If you train your attitude you will learn that helping others as a default gives you satisfaction. And if you feel you have nothing to share you can always encourage the other person. We all need a little appreciation once in a while.
Change your Elevator Pitch Approach from Taker to Giver
My clients practice changing their elevator pitches. One of the key skills you have to learn to become a giver is to ask sensitive questions instead of talking all the time. Another skill is to listen. Check out other blog posts on networking approaches here.
If you need help with your elevator pitch or networking please set up a meeting with me.