with thanks to Charlotte Wibberley for tongue in cheek suggested title.
“Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” Let’s come back to that question, and answer.
Over the years, I’ve written many articles/blogs about the benefits of networking – not bad for someone who was dragged screaming and shouting to her first business women’s networking event, eh?!
One great opportunity at networking events is that most offer you the chance to stand up and speak to a supportive – please notice that word “supportive” – audience. None better is a female audience. Women are natural networkers and connectors. I enjoy nothing better than attending the various 1230 TWC group meetings and being able to learn and connect across them all.
Don’t only attend those events that don’t provide this opportunity just because they don’t provide the opportunity to stand up and speak!
1230 TWC wasn’t started with great intent. It started as a need for me to make contacts to grow my IT Training company. I was a virgin networker, observing others making those so vital connections. Build trusting business relationships – please note that word too - “relationships”. Awesome to see. But sooo awful to see was the SELLING!
The other thing we do well but sometimes ignore is to collaborate. Don’t look for milestones of hindrance, especially, don’t be concerned with “competitors” in “your” market place. There’s always something to learn and scope to explore opportunities to work together.
Some time ago I asked on Facebook what the word “pitch” implied/meant to the (business) readers. An emphatic “SALES/SELLING” came back, which they hated with a vengeance! So not only do we have – “I can’t possibly stand up and talk” but we also have SELLING!!! in our faces.
Are they part and parcel of the same issue?
According to Wikipedia:
An elevator pitch, elevator speech or elevator statement is a short sales pitch – there it is, “sales”.
Sales, selling – these are big turn-offs for many who might consider attending networking events. They don’t want to be sold to, neither do they want to sell.
Let’s be realistic. We’re in business to sell our products, our services. Networking allows us the opportunity to do this in a less “in yer face” way and much more.
So to answer the question “Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” No, you don’t. But why waste this chance to let everyone there know why they should come to you as opposed to your next-door neighbour. Again realistically, you’re unlikely to be able to talk to everyone individually, but they can then come to you and your expertise!
11 points to remember about your 1 minute talk:
1) Planning is key
2) That includes practicing in the bathroom – yes, say it out LOUD.
a. Get used to the sound of your voice, and time yourself accordingly.
b. Remember 1 minute for example, is the maximum amount of time. If you can get your message over in less – congratulations! A definite no, no is to take liberties and overrun your maximum time.
3) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed
4) Demonstrate your expertise in your subject
5) Use humour, props – something that makes you memorable
6) It’s NOT ABOUT YOU – it’s about how you can help your listeners
7) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed
No, this isn’t a typo, just a reminder of a very important fact.
8) The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
9) One size doesn’t fit all. That is, vary each talk.
10) It’s not about what you DO, it’s about what you OFFER.
11) Be yourself! People buy people – and breathe!
Everyone who attends 1230 TWC meetings is given a copy of this card as an aide memoire. Inside is the 1230 TWC 1 Minute Guide, the text in grey is suggestions for varying detail as appropriate, with space to make notes from the meeting.
Networking is NOT about selling, it’s about building RELATIONSHIPS.
So please…. No more “elevator pitches”.
Stop it, NOW!
Just be yourself and speak!