Did you know, in a recent New York Times survey of peoples’ greatest fears, death came in third, followed by walking into a room full of strangers and speaking in public. Networking involves standing up and speaking in public, even if it’s only for one minute! It's no wonder that the 60 second or one minute round is the one things that most people dislike when it comes to networking.
So, how can YOU create a confident and effective one minute pitch that’s memorable, and has impact?
Preparation is key, so spend time to write your one minute pitch and putting some words down on paper, will help eliminate some of those nerves when standing up and speaking. Having a clear and easy to understand description about what it is that you do to solve your customer’s problems and pain, is what you’re looking for.
Firstly, introduce yourself and your company and try & grab attention with an interesting fact or statistic about your industry or business, using the words “Did you know ...”
Next, explain your target market, and be really specific here. Avoid saying that you work with ‘everyone’ and ‘anyone’, as it doesn’t help people to understand exactly who your clients are.
Then, describe the situation or problem that your client is struggling with. What’s their pain? Using emotive words such as ‘frustrated, anxious about, struggling with, suffering from, afraid of, fed-up with, or frightened’, will add more impact. Illustrating your customer’s problems will help people easily relate to and identify with them.
The next thing is to describe with empathy exactly what it is that YOU do, to solve that problem, in simple plain English, avoiding industry jargon and abbreviations.
Talk about the benefits of working with you, and what makes you different to your competitors.
The last 10 seconds of your one minute pitch is when you ask for what help you need, right now, in your business. So ask for that ‘dream’ referral or introduction, or help with finding a supplier, or something else that’s important and relevant to you. Be really explicit as it helps others to think of who they know.
Once you’ve worked on and written your pitch, practice saying it in front of a mirrow, or in front of a colleague or a friend.
Remember, it’s not just about the words you use! Your one minute will have more impact if you can deliver your message with energy and passion. Speak loudly and clearly. Relax, and be yourself. Don't forget, many other business people are also nervous about the one minute round, so you won't be alone if this is something you feel anxious about.
I wish you all the best for the next time that you go networking.