We had just gone to say hi to a neighbor who just moved into our area in Lekki Lagos. My wife and I went to say hi and welcome them to the Area with a cute basked of home made cheese cakes. After the Initial pleasantries and settling down to some of the snacks and a couple of drinks. The man of the house an avid investment Banker in his Mid 40’s threw the question
“…So what do you do?”
I was sure I muffled some words about being a Strategic Plan Consultant cum Management Trainer and whatever else came out…before handling over my Business card as if to say “figure it out yourself”. So the first question my wife asked when we got back home was;
“What was that about?” Before giving me a low-down of how unsure and unconvincing my statements were. I know it could be confusing when you are multi talented and can do a lot of things. How do you communicate such without sounding like a jerk or a confused person?
So I had to work on that Area and trust me I had since improved my Networking skill since then. So what did I do?
It starts really with preparing a personal Elevator speech. Oh yes The lift opens on the first floor and you get in to come face to face with a Richard Branson, Donald Trump, or Aliko Dangote. Someone Big and Impressive, a mover and shaker. He sees you gawping at him and says you have until the 12th floor for you to give me your pitch. What have you to say for yourself?
Its a bit of a fantasy scenario admittedly. But it has given rise to the elevator speech. In most Networking situations giving a very lengthy speech is a No, No, when answering the question “What do you do?” Most of the times the question is said as much out of politeness as it is in genuine interest to find out much about you.
Believe it or not, it pays to write down the 20-30 seconds personal pitch down and recite it over and over again(preferably in front of a mirror to monitor your facial reactions too).
For instance a Market researcher might say:
I’m an account director at Jk Smith International, a leading marketing research Consultancy. We look for clients who need greater insight about their customers. We offer both Qualitative and Quantitative research methods through our network of 18 offices worldwide to provide a seamless service to international clients. If I could take your card, I’d be delighted to set up a meeting and give you the opportunity to see why world-leading companies such as coca-cola and Sony come to us to understand their customers.
An Unemployed Operations Manager looking for a new Job might say
I was until recently Operations Manager for an Airline. But after seven years, I was made redundant due to a downturn in the industry. So I am looking to transfer my skills into an operations role in other sectors. I’m looking to meet people who might help me in my search- perhaps by giving me advice about the job market or by putting me in touch with recruiters. Do you think you might know anyone anyone who might be willing to speak to me on the phone for 15 minutes?
Networking events are growing in popularity among freelance workers and small business owners and are another opportunity to deliver an extended elevator speech. Personally I prefer a pitch that is not longer than a hundred words so you do not bore your listener. It is a good idea to have an elevator speech ready in case anyone ask what you do. Be confident, flash them a smile and shoot!
To your success
@seunajibade (Follow me)