To Pitch or Not to Pitch- Part 2: Talking Points
- Last week I wrote about the importance of preparing an Elevator Pitch when you run your own business or need to promote yourself in some way. This short prepared speech on who you are and what you do will certainly come in handy at formal networking events when you have to introduce yourself, and it can help you feel more confident when opportunities arise. But working with entrepreneurs and people starting out in business, I often get the sense that most people don’t like having to be pushy– and that an elevator pitch feels a little too much like and old-timer salesperson cornering their victim. And if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an unwelcome pitch- you know how awkward it can be!
- That’s why I always offer another approach –using talking points to connect with people in a more organic, authentic way.
- The idea is to write down how you feel about your work, business, or career goals from three different perspectives: love, hate, and relate. (note- I found this years ago online and did not make a note of the source. I’ve since searched for it and can not find it- if anyone knows the originator of this great approach- please let me know so I can link this post back to them!)
- How does it work? -Take some time to write down your thoughts on each of the three talking points, and practice sharing them. Don’t memorize every word (though you may want to keep a few choice phrases and expressions handy). Every time you use these they will come out differently as part of natural conversation. The point is to have the ideas and feelings prepared (and the confidence to express them).
- This is where you talk about what you LOVE about your work, the passion behind your plan, and why do you what you do. Use language that conveys your feelings, and don’t be afraid to be animated and excited. Share your energy! This piece is great to lead with or end the conversation with.
- What drives you crazy in your industry? What pain point are you offering a remedy for? What problems are you solving? This is where you express your (or your market’s) frustration with the status quo (which you are planning to disrupt). If your goals are more related to your personal journey and future career rather than a business offering, you can use this talking point to talk about any struggles or difficulties you have overcome.
- This is the talking point that explains the plan- that relates the story of what you are doing (the opportunity you are looking for, the business you have created). ie “So that’s why I created [your product, service business],” Or ,“So that’s I’m looking for [this opportunity, position, connections etc]. If your listener is interested, you can go into more detail. Be ready with answers to any questions that come next.
- What I love about these talking points is that you can use them in any order, on their own, or all together. But most importantly –as they come up in natural conversation with people you meet. It’s the opposite of pushy- it invites people in to talk to you about what you do if they are interested or if it is relevant to them. Be sure to take time to really listen as well, and be genuine and relaxed as you share your story with others. Who knows? You may find your next customer, an investor, or at least an advocate who will help you connect to someone else who help you. And if not- well, it was a good conversation!
- ~Erica Halvorsen
- Need coaching for your next networking event? I can help! Find me at ericajane.ca