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Networking Made Simple: Hone Your Elevator Pitch!

What do you lead with when you're at a business networking event and you do more than one thing?

I'm putting together a virtual networking event for later this year. The idea is to present a hot topic - perfecting your elevator pitch, in this case - and bring attendees together in small groups throughout the event to network with each other and discuss their ideas in different ways. The topic, as you can probably tell from this blog's title, is how to develop a strong elevator pitch.

It's going to be a work in progress, because our businesses continue to evolve. It's even more of a challenge for those of us who have more than one business. What do we lead with? Do we talk about them all or just pick one, and if so, which one?

Introduce yourself, make a key point or two, and connect with someone new.

A man and woman in business suits stand in an open elevator chatting amicably.
30 seconds to introduce yourself - GO!

Pique the listener's curiosity

The purpose of an elevator pitch is to interest someone enough that they ask for more information or schedule a follow-up meeting. You only have 30 seconds or less (about the length of a typical elevator ride) to make a strong enough impression, so you have to get right to the point and offer up "the good stuff."

What's that? Ideally it's something that suggests that you can solve a problem of theirs. Or maybe it's something different enough that they want to learn more. Either way, it's a chance to be sufficiently memorable and interesting that they want to continue the conversation.

What do you lead with?

If you have one specific business, product, or service, you can identify how it can help your ideal client and how you deliver it. I'm not going to go into the specifics - that's for our speaker to share! But what if you have multiple businesses or offerings that you can to talk about? What to choose, what to choose....

The purpose of an elevator pitch is to interest someone enough that they ask for more information or schedule a follow-up meeting.

I have that particular challenge. My businesses are adjacent to one another; they're very much related, though distinctly different. In my case, I'm trying to figure out what I want to talk about:

  • on camera acting

  • voice over

  • consulting/coaching business people to be better on camera themselves

Do I choose one? Talk about them all? Or maybe find an umbrella idea that encompasses all three?

The word "audience" in capital letters appears in hand-drawn black magic marker on a while surface. It's surrounded by three drawn black arrows pointing towards it, one just being drawn by a hand with a marker.
It's all about your audience!

Tailor your pitch to your audience

I've tried all of these approaches, so clearly my elevator pitch is a work still in progress! But here's what I found:

  • Your elevator pitch has to be memorable.

  • A memorable pitch contains a single idea.

  • The idea of what you do has to resonate with whomever you're networking to be of value.

Throwing the kitchen sink at someone? Too confusing and they'll come away not sure what the heck you do, much less having it be of much value to you.

An umbrella pitch that contains all your businesses or services? It could work, IF the umbrella concept has a story that your audience can identify with. This is what I've most recently been experimenting with:

I help you "stop the scroll" on social media so people pay attention to your videos.

I elaborate by explaining that I can either tell your story on camera or with voice over, as a professional actor. OR, as a video coach, help YOU become more comfortable and charismatic on camera yourself for your own projects.

It's worked fairly well, but it's really mostly of interest to those who do need to make videos themselves and want help.

A little boy with a bright smile has his right hand suporting his chin as he thinks, while his left hand points to above his head, where a lit light bulb appears to show he has a bright new idea.
Hey, here's an idea....

I'm starting a new approach:

  • Get the other person first tell me what they do, so I can get some idea of which of my services (if any) they may be interested in.

  • Based on their answer, share one of my services and elaborate on it, should they be curious. I can always mention the other two if the conversation goes that way or leave them for follow-up conversations.

  • If I have to just pick something without any information about them, I'm going to lead with what I think will raise the most curiosity: my work as a voice actor.

Why? If I say film/TV actor, everyone wants to know what I've been in that they've seen, and that ultimately leads to disappointment. It would be nice to say that I've had a memorable turn in every blockbuster movie or hit TV show, but it just ain't so. They may have seen some of my work, but probably not. After all, a lot of it are commercials (very short run), corporate industrials (seen only if you work for those companies), and independent films. It IS nice when I can say that I'm currently on this streaming service or that TV show, but that's not always the case. And no, I'm not on a first-name basis with any celebrity. Sorry.

The video performance coaching is of interest to some, but not the majority of people I'd meet. But when I say "voice actor," then they're wanting to know what that is. It sounds intriguing and gives me an opening to explain an art form they've heard all their lives, but had (probably) never known what it was or how it's done. It's a great lead-in for more conversation.

Will it inspire new business? Who knows? Hopefully! If nothing else, a few more people than before will be aware that it is indeed "a thing" and one that's very creative and rewarding.

Laura's Quick Tips

  1. A good elevator pitch is under 30 seconds, very clear, and memorable.

  2. Focus on what the other person does and what they're interested in.

  3. If you do more than one thing, pick one - don't muddy the waters with too much information.

The best way for people to follow-up on their own is to check out your website. Make it easy for them to understand exactly what you do. Consider adding a blog to your website so they can learn more about your current work and ideas. Here's mine! Read more about it here >

Laura Doman smiling

I'm Laura Doman, a voice & TV/film actor and video communications coach. As an actor, I create memorable characters that tell my client's stories well, from the friendly CEO to your sassy best gal pal dispensing real-world advice. As a coach, I help you become more comfortable and charismatic on camera yourself for videos, presentations, and online appearances. Got a project in mind?...Let's Talk!


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