Do you know someone who is interesting?
More importantly, when was the last time that you heard someone say something at a business networking event that made them stand out from the crowd? I have been to other business networking events where I have been asked to speak about networking skills.
I always enjoy proving this point
I have a good working relationship with another networking group, so I decided to accept an invitation to talk there. The group was full of new members, the founder and the two people running the group. An introduction was given and then it was time to hear the 60-second pitches of each person’s business. After a fairly unmemorable selection, I started my talk.
My opener was “Does anyone remember what 3 or more people do in their business?” In a group of around 20, 4 hands went up. I then said that I would be calling people out on this and asking them to do the exercise. This prompted all hands except 1 to go immediately down.
Most 60-second pitches are a waste of time
Rather than give you a lengthy ramble about this, let me highlight the reasons I consistently see why most people fail to be interesting or memorable:
- They do not sound interested or excited by what they do
- They have been networking for so long that the well-rehearsed 60 seconds sounds tired and matter-of-fact
- They talk about their business without telling me anything interesting about themselves
- They fail to realise that people buy people, focusing away from the aspect that matters the most – them (personal interests are likely to connect you more to your audience than what your business does)
- They assume that they need to sell their business in 60 seconds and talk too fast
- A lack of understanding that the purpose of a pitch is very simple: give people a reason to continue the conversation. On that basis you should be able to do that without trying to tell people everything about your business
- There is no compelling story/testimonial to accompany it
- Their delivery is awkward and body language is not helping
- Most people are only thinking about themselves in a networking environment, and if they were not interested in your services or business before, they will probably not be after
So what can you do to stand out in a crowd?
I have always found that sharing something personal during a pitch is a great conversation starter for after the pitches. After all, my only purpose is to continue the conversation. For this reason, I may mention something that happened to me at the weekend, the fact that I support Liverpool and dare to dream of the league title, or that I sell solar-paneled heads in my spare time!
Stop trying to sell your business, and start being yourself….because that’s what is likely to make you stand out.