How to spring clean your Oxfordshire networking pitch
Is your networking pitch feeling fusty and dusty? Do the people you pitch to look tired and uninspired? Perhaps it’s time for a good spring clean. So muster your feather dusters, and let’s take a look at how you can throw out what isn’t working, and polish what remains to perfection.
If you’ve been to a networking session, you might have taken part in that peculiar ritual: the pitch. At some sessions, participants will take it in turns to stand up and let the group know what they are up to. The problem is that without care and attention, pitches can become predictable – and even boring.
It’s got nothing to do with your business – which could be the zippiest, most electrically-charged outfit since Tesla cars – but more to do with the pitch itself, or perhaps even (and there is no easy way to say this) your own delivery.
If you’re up to the challenge of improving your networking pitch, here are some spring cleaning tips to help it sparkle and shine.
Tell a neat story
Humans are hard-wired to enjoy stories – they help us to make sense of the world. One way of introducing a story into your pitch is through case studies. Because while it’s great to talk about what you could do to help people, it’s even better to be able to demonstrate how you’ve done it.
Find a situation where a client faced a challenge, demonstrate how you were able to implement a solution – and what the outcomes were. A happy ending will get people’s attention and prove your expertise. Just remember to keep it short, and stick to the most important points.
Brush up on your facts
If you’re passionate about your business, it will shine through. But enthusiasm is most engaging when it’s backed up with actual data.
Rather than waxing lyrical about how great your business is, back up your passion with facts that demonstrate your success. How much time or money will your product save? What percentage of customers rate your services at five stars? Tangible facts are always compelling, and will turn encouraging smiles into engaged brains.
Try a good clean joke
From wedding speeches to corporate presentations, getting your audience to laugh is a sure-fire way to get their attention. Begin your pitch with an amusing anecdote or observation, and you’ll be likely to notice people sitting up in their chairs.
You don’t need to be a comedian either – everyone appreciates a speaker who shows a bit of humour, rather than droning on with the same old stuff. It’s best if the joke is somehow tied into your pitch too – perhaps something funny about how you set the business up. Try out your opener on a willing friend first to see if they think it’s a goer; but keep things professional, and be sure not to overdo it (unless you’re pitching a comedy business). And above all, avoid jokes that might offend people!
Mop up with a prop
Standing up and saying a few words is perfectly acceptable. It’s a classic. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t think more creatively about your pitch. A prop is a great way of helping your pitch to really stand out.
Perhaps it’s the photograph that inspired you to follow your dreams; or maybe it’s the action figure that perfectly encapsulates the skills you offer; or maybe it’s the funky teapot that serves as a perfect metaphor for your business model. Whatever you choose, if your creative pitch helps your audience to see things a little differently, it could make a big difference to your success.
Have a proper declutter
However you choose to do your pitch, remember that your audience are people. Everyone is at the networking session to meet other people – not to be talked at by someone who is going on and on about themselves, their background, their business’ history and…zzzzz…..
You don’t need to be Marie Kondo to know what shouldn’t be in a pitch. Just do some preparation, and practice with someone you know, until you’ve got your pitch as crisp, clear and concise as it can be.
Juice: a breath of fresh air
If you can make your pitch brief, interesting, insightful, funny, or even just any one of those elements, you’ll be well on the way to winning your audience’s hearts and minds, and possibly even their business.
And if you’re looking for a networking session where you can give a sparkling pitch – and find other people doing the same – come along to one of our fun Juice Networking Guest Days.