Do You Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready? Networking 101

by CHERYL GNAD on December 27, 2016

Elevator - pitch

Do You Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready? Networking 101

Today is when you are going to visit a networking group and, of course, you will put your elevator speech/elevator pitch in action. It is your first visit. Someone greets you are the door and the “game is on!”  You are instantly asked, “what do you do?” Having just arrived, you hardly have your coat off! Now is the time to pull that “elevator speech” out, you only have about 30 seconds to spill it! Are you ready? All that comes out is… “I, um, am a coach, um, a business coach”.  You fumbled it! You end it there, because you weren’t quite ready. What are you to do?

Go back into your memory. Let me ask, how many people did you talk to last month? Who of those, stood out to you? Did they have an elevator pitch, or did they just talk with you, (or AT you)? Do you have a clue as to what they wanted? Um, do you remember anything? Most likely, very little.

The action of meeting new people in hopes of making an impression actually is so that they call you when they need your expertise. It is limited, at best, to really making a great connection on that FIRST meeting. What can one do, and NOT be lost in the crowd of the many people that inhabited that person’s memory (or NOT) at this networking event? You want to “stand out!”

NETWORKING 101 – Building Your Elevator Pitch

Let’s go through some basics – many of which get forgotten or ignored. Here are some steps that will help you and your business NOT be forgotten but be a FAVORABLE MEMORY of your meeting.

  1. Do what others don’t do.

Often a network meeting means hitting the beverage table or snack table and finding your seat, claiming your spot or seat and remaining there talking to those at the table or area you are sitting. Instead, arrive early, get your beverage or snack, claim a spot or seat but DON’T stay there, then go to the entrance and greet people as they arrive OR greet them as they approach the food table.  This way you won’t miss anyone, and you had a chance to make that initial contact! You can return to them later, and share more.

  1. Begin the conversation! Don’t let them begin.

When they do they usually control how the conversation goes. Begin with your name, and ask for theirs and inquire why may be attending this event or something similar. Now you have begun…

  1. Make it about THEM! Not you.

Let them know that you don’t wish to take up their time with chit chat at the networking event, but you do want to get plenty of information about them.  After all, it should be short and sweet.

Ask: “what does your company do? What do you do there?” Or, “tell me about your business and what you do?” Then open with something unexpected or a twist in perspective.

  1. NOW it is YOUR turn!

Begin with a question to feel out a pain point that your company often brings a solution to. You might need to adjust to fit them, but you will get a feeling if they are going to be a prospective customer for you. These points will help create a great elevator pitch:

  • Personality – is personal development important to you? Do participate in activities that builds that – then it is a part of your personality to “improve upon yourself”. Share that! Be real about what is important to you. Ask them what they have done recently for their own personal development. OR, does the season bring something unique that resonates with you thus showing your personality?

Example: “I find personal development to one way to really get ahead in my business. I love doing webinars online – the latest was on ___________. Have you done any webinars recently? “

Go with that! Again, be real. Not a walking commercial!!  Which brings me to my next point…?

  • DON’T sell! – networking events are NEVER a place to sell a product or service! It is a chance to find people that match your IDEAL client/customer avatar! Learn about THEM first. Your elevator pitch IS NOT A SALES PITCH! 
  • Now ask a question that fits your IDEAL client/customer and see how they answer. Hopefully, you find that you have a chance to leave a tip or suggestion to help solve their problem.

Example: Have you ever been stumped as to what to put on your social media? Like you ran out of ideas?

This leaves the doors open to some great hints or suggestions to help them with their social media marketing!

  • Stay away for YOUR business jargon or lingo.

No need to overwhelm them with words that puts them at a disadvantage of knowing very little and makes you LOOK big! Reverse that. Make them look like they have a good start at the related use of your product line or service. People like to look good to others and be recognized.

  • Be creative in your presentation.

Taglines  – these are a shortened elevator pitch and they can be very effective! People have the tendency to remember a tagline or a RHYME better than just “I do social media marketing”. Sadly, I’ve done this one plenty of times and it is less effective these days because NOW they heard and seen it enough to have an idea (rightly or wrongly) of that is – BUT I AM NOT LIKE the others! Neither are YOU! So, create a tagline to “color” your picture of you – don’t be a “black and white” image your business!

Be short like a TWITTER post! – allow your tagline to be only 120 characters!

ONE WORD – now that, is one unique way to be remembered! Try it! Find ONE word that best fits who and what you are as a business!

ONCE UPON A TIME – have a quick “story” to tell. Stories always keep the other’s attention.

  • Reputation – Mention you have worked with.

Your elevator pitch or speech can give a foundation of reliability because they may know the others that you’ve helped. Offering their names leaves you open to more trust in you. If you’ve been interviewed by a TV station or mentioned in publications mention this. If you have received awards for your service – just a quick recognition that you’ve received them is all that is necessary. Don’t be afraid to “toot your own horn” – be proud of your own work to HELP OTHERS!

  • End with a USP – Unique, Selling Preposition.

Yes, I know. Never sell to them, but at least leave them with why anyone should come to you for your service or product. You are looking for ANYONE not them, that they know might fit the need that you can solve.

  1. Lastly, practice, practice, practice!

You do not want to be stuck with endless “ummm, and I…ummmm”.  

  1. Ooops, I lied – one more!

Just remember it isn’t about you, but what you can DO FOR them. Have a servant’s mentality and seek to help them, and they won’t be resistant to hearing about you! Allow them to speak about themselves and what they do, but keep your presentation succinct and full of great information that they never would have known unless they got to meet you!


NOW you have become memorable! Time to note their info on their card – where you met, what you talked about, what is their Problem to be SOLVED, and schedule the next step – the FOLLOW UP! When you call they will remember you and they will happy to speak with you because they know you are seeking to help them – not get them to BUY!

A word about “networking” via social media – I strongly suggest the same principles given here when you “network” or “engage” with your online friends or fans. Remember though, it isn’t the PITCH, but more of an Elevator Speech. More importantly, it is about THEM, not you. Provide value always – i.e. – give them information, entertainment, or tips that helps them. 

Whether they buy from you or not, ALWAYS come away from that relationship with knowing that you’ve made a business friend! Your world has just expanded through your touching their lives online and in person. NOW you can feel “rich” or “blest” – because what goes out comes back 100-fold!

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Written by CHERYL GNAD


Cheryl Gnad, of owner/social media consultant with Social Focus by CG, offers coaching and consulting for small businesses looking to incorporate social media into their advertising strategies. She is a self-developed business owner, and a trained social media manager with names like Kate Buck Jr., Amy Porterfield, Kim Garst and Sandi Krakowski. Follow her on Facebook at Social Focus by CG, Twitter@SocialFocusbyCG, and on Linkedin.

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