A networking introduction or “elevator pitch” quickly and succinctly defines you and your background and interests. It can be used at career fairs, conferences and networking events. The elevator pitch is a short summary given in the time span of an elevator ride (approximately 30 seconds to two minutes). The goal is to introduce yourself, engage your audience and to start a conversation.
What do I say?
An elevator pitch needs to be succinct, while conveying important information. Here are some steps to assist in crafting a great pitch:
- Introduce yourself
- Identify your goal or purpose
- Describe your relevant experience, ability to contribute, and uniqueness
- Wrap it up
- Engage the person with a question
- Follow up
- Practice, practice, practice...then practice some more
There is a lot of flexibility in the introduction. It should include something unique about yourself, for example: area of study, degree, internships, experience, research, projects or military service. You can mention potential connections such as individuals in the same department, similar backgrounds and alumni.
By identifying your goal or purpose, it may help the person you are speaking to point you in the right direction for further assistance. Be succinct. If your goals aren't clear, they won't be able to effectively assist you.
Give 1-2 solid examples of your experience that relates directly to that organization or position. This is also a good time to show your uniqueness. Just as with your introduction, you can discuss major, degree, service, or anything else you think is unique enough to make you stand out. You can also briefly discuss research, awards or presentations you've given. Don't repeat anything you mentioned in your introduction.
Pull everything together in a brief but interesting concluding sentence. This will reaffirm what you want and how they can help you.
Be curious. People enjoy sharing their own interests. Ask questions, such as:
- What do you do?
- How did you get involved in this field?
- What do you like or not like about it?
- What advice would you give someone entering this field?
While still in conversation, explore possible opportunities for continuing the conversation, for example:
- Perhaps we could meet and discuss _____ opportunities in your organization/field?
- What is the process for applying for internships/jobs at your company?
- For following up, is there a particular person I should contact?
- Can I connect with you on LinkedIn?
- May I have your business card?
- Can I give/send you my resume or business card?
Put it on paper! Write out a script or some talking points you would like to discuss, then craft your pitch and practice. Use focused terminology that highlights your experience in an area, but make sure not to use industry jargon or acronyms that average people won't understand. Practice until you can smoothly give your pitch.