If you’re turned off by the word “networking” it could be because you’ve been to an event where a zealous networker walked up to you, gave you a quick pitch about what they do, shoved a business card in your hand and walked off.
That’s not the way you network.
That’s not the way you pitch yourself.
An inability to connect with your audience, be it one person, several, or a crowd, is the No. 1 reason why pitches fail. Stop thinking about what you do and start thinking about what you can offer.
Showing what you’re capable of in a short, succinct pitch is a useful tool in your professional arsenal. You can use your pitch in person, in correspondence, and on your resumé — just fine-tune it for each audience.
“Your personal pitch needs to accomplish two things: Explain why you are different from everyone else and prove that you can deliver results,” says Ben Wise, brand expert and author at benwise.ca.
Don’t pitch your background, experience, or services, but pitch how you can be of value.
For example, if you’re a filmmaker specializing in online videos, don’t say “I produce videos for the web.” Instead, try this: “I produce web videos that help my clients promote their businesses and sell their services.”
The second pitch is a far more enticing prospect for the listener because they can immediately see the value in what you do.
“Young professionals today have a different set of skills than those from 10 years ago,” Wise says.
“It’s important to build your pitch around the skills you have, but also around how it’s relevant to others — especially when they’re not of the same generation.”
Forget the “objective statement” on your resumé — use your pitch in a profile section instead. It will be the first thing an employer reads, and your best chance to make an impact.
Most importantly, practise, practise, practise. The more naturally you’re able to speak about your value and apply it to different situations, the less you’ll sound like an impersonal, scripted networker. Be authentic, be relevant and you’ll be able to pitch yourself successfully.