One of the most useful skills at a networking forum is pitching. Whether you are a job seeker, a business owner or an employee seeking to expand your networks within your current company, you must find a comfortable way to introduce yourself to other professionals present in such forums. You see, it’s one thing to attend a networking forum and it’s another thing to leave a lasting impression to the people you interact with.
The key to effective pitching is brevity. But even in the spirit of keeping it brief and to the point, you must never forget to leave enough information that will provoke interest and inspire action from your audience.
It’s important to note that a poorly delivered pitch is a potential deal breaker; it can easily deny you an opportunity of a lifetime. A major challenge for selling yourself in a networking forum is in crafting an introduction sufficient enough to grab the attention of your audience.
Below are a few helpful tips;
Specifying skill and expertise
This is a commonly used pitch where one summarizes their specialty, industry experience or role. It’s basic and dependable, and if delivered concisely, you can share a wealth of information about yourself. However, the main drawback is, it’s used by every Tom, Dick, and Kamau. To be memorable, you’ll require differentiating your intro by being specific to details.
Leveraging common or a shared experience
Business Networking can happen anywhere, it’s not only restricted to formal events. In fact, its effectiveness is realized more during social events because people are generally ‘themselves.’
For instance at a wedding, a great ice breaker or entry point to a conversation would be how you know the couple. In a business conference or workshop you can bond over the theme/topic under discussion or your affiliation with the organizer. Having been united by a common experience, you can proceed to build on that by sharing about your background.
People love anything that has a story, or just a hint of it. Therefore, you can bypass all your titles and company information and talk about who you serve. The key is to be very specific.
For instance; “We currently are working with a secondary school owner who came to us at the verge of closing her business due to low enrollment rate. We have remodeled her marketing plan by integrating digital and traditional initiatives which has really helped her brand communicate better”
A before and after Story
This is still a client story, but places emphasis on your personal contribution in your organization.
For instance: “I manage the security docket at Dodi Financials. The company had spent millions to find the right software to protect their critical data; I found a way to seal all loopholes that have since protected Dodi Financials from hacker attacks”
Please note that these are just introduction tips, there’s the main part of the conversation which encompasses business networking best practices. They range from good articulation, body language, common communication courtesy, etc. We will delve into this in future posts.