Ditch the Pitch


Are you fed up with networking meetings? I was at a networking event where we went around the room in typical fashion and listened to elevator pitches. If this is starting to get old, it’s probably because many networkers still haven’t learned how to communicate who they are, what they do,and who they serve.

Here are some of my biggest turnoffs.
1. Talking too long. It never fails. Over time I’ve observed a pattern at these networking meetings. The moderator asks people to be brief. She may even set a time limit. The first few speakers adhere to the time requirements. Then, somewhere in the middle, a storyteller emerges. They blather on and from that point on, others pick up the cue and start sharing their histories. At this point, the audience is frustrated and disengaged.

2. Giving a sales pitch. Nobody likes to be sold. Some networkers think every room is full of prospects just for them. This is especially true on linkedin where as soon as you accept an invitation they send you a link to their product. They don’t understand that networking is about building relationships and trust. That takes time. If all you do is talk about your wares, you might as well go elsewhere. Nobody is buying.

3. Sounding scripted. This is know as the talking head. This problem is really pronounced when the person calls in by phone. You can tell they are reading word-for-word. A good elevator pitch sounds conversational. Others can read a script as well as you can. If you can’t talk about what you do without reading, the audience will doubt your competence.

4. Speaking in a monotone. A monotone voice lacks energy. If you sound bored, we have to wonder if you really like what you do. A person who sounds like they’re going through the motions will not move anyone to action. Enthusiasm sells. Show us the passion.

5. Unclear. Have you ever heard a networker talk about their business only to to totally confused the audience? I remember a man who gave the same elevator pitch at every meeting. And each time I’d look at my friend and say, “What does he do? “ Only after having a one-to-one conversation with him did I ascertain that he was an event planner. Why didn’t he say that? Do you want to be clever or clear?

6. Unfocused.This is the networker who offers a menu of products or services. While it’s good to have options, when it comes to an elevator pitch aim for a single line of focus. The mind can’t handle all that information. What is your expertise? Don’t make the audience work so hard. A confused mind says no.

7. Clever but not relevant. In an effort to be creative, some people try to create acronyms, relate their business to songs or tie it to a current event. Being creative is good but if your the angle isn’t relevant to your product or service, use a more traditional approach.

What is your biggest networking turnoff?
If you're challenged by any of the above issues, it's time to ditch your pitch and clean up your message. Contact me if you'd like to create an elevator pitch that works! And give a knockout presentation. diane@diresta.com