Building a Networking Pitch
Even with social distancing and the avoiding of the events with a large group of people, every professional still need a networking pitch. Because it might happen to you to participate to video meetings and virtual summits, where usually there is a moment of self-introduction.
There is also the possibility to get a virtual job interview where talking about you and your capabilities is fundamental!
A good networking pitch introduces you in a concise and compelling way. However, capturing your personality and highlighting the best of your background without rambling on for too long it might be difficult. For this reason, here will follow 3 precious steps to follow to built up a good networking pitch:
Pick something about your professional background (a good experience) to establish credibilityFocus on a specific professional accomplishment that puts you at the right level (for example if you’re in management, don’t mention an individual contributor role). Pick something that is relevant to where you want to work. For example, you could mention:
1. Your current company and role, do not include the specific title if it is too complicated, strictly related to the company or full of jargon.
2. What you are working on, learning or researching, talk about what are you studying or working on at the moment, you have to focus on your activities, talk about the companies you’re researching on and what you have discovered, applying it to your knowledges of the market.
3. Industry expertise or other special knowledge. Rather than a role, talk about your overall industry of other expertise, including how many years you’ve been in this area or a cutting-edge fact that leaves no doubts that you’re current in your field
4. The arc of your career, even if you are currently employed, you may decide that your overall experience is more interesting than any single role covered. So, highlight your all experience and what it left you.
5. Types of people that you deal with and the results that you achieved, many jobs, especially as you get more senior, have multiple responsibilities, but by talking about who you serve and what the results are, you hone in on the value you deliver, rather than how you do it or what your day-to-day is like.
6. Sample recent project or client story, By drilling down to one example, you showcase your expertise and experience while also telling a story. If you have a particularly interesting before/ after result to share, or a hero’s journey, this could be a good way to package your credibility.
Try all six of these formats, and choose the most powerful ones, or keep them all and rotate them depending on who you’re talking to and what you want to highlight.
Include something personal to build a relation
Don’t just include professional details in your pitch because it’s boring. Many people focus on their professional characteristics but you need to stand out to be remembered. Including some personal facts help building a genuine relationship and give soul to a cold pitch.
Some personal tidbits that are still appropriate for professional networking include:
1. How you became interested in your line of work, this is a natural transition from establishing your credibility – you’re not only knowledgeable, but enthusiastic!
2. Life story, where you grew up, where you went to school, earlier career if different from now.
3. Passion or hobby, these should be pursuits that you invest in, not just dabble in because superficial effort doesn’t make a memorable impression.
4. Community or non-profit involvement, if you have any leadership experience, that adds to your professional credibility as well, if not seeing that you are involved into community works shows how much you care about other.
5. Recent book you read, trips or event you attended – similar to the passion or hobby, this isn’t just about being well-rounded but also being interesting and dedicated, so pick accordingly. The destination of you journey can tell a lot about you.
6. Connection to the person you are talking to or circumstances that put you together, if you’re attending a virtual summit on AI, and your work isn’t obviously related to AI, then you could talk about what prompted you to attend
End with a call to action for yourself that lets the other person know your immediate priorities
Your call to action is where you state what you’re focused on in the near term:
1. Career step you are working on, if you’re in finance, you might mention you’re studying for the CFA and looking forward to more complex analyses (if that’s your ideal career move).
2. Area you are researching or idea you’re considering – if you’re a career changer and your background is very different from what you want to do, specifying your new target career as a research subject for you let’s the other person know you’re moving into something else
3. Ideal project
4. Ideal client
5. Ideal role
Having a call to action in important, in this way other person knows exactly what is your focus, so make sure that the call to action is what you are really doing and don’t put it as a request, it will seem presumptuous.
A multidimensional pitch is best because it reflects the multidimensional you!
Using all three steps to develop your networking pitch ensures that your pitch is as multidimensional as you are. It also establishes credibility, rapport and next steps, all of which give the other person enough information that if they want to continue with the relationship in a meaningful way they can. (Of course, you should always take the initiative to follow up in case the other person is terrible about following up, as many people are.)