The humble elevator pitch is often dismissed…
… but it is in fact the starting point for many successful business opportunities and conversations. It’s also a crucial part of attendance at a speed networking or table shuffle event.
You might think these events seem a bit quick and dirty, but they are in fact a brilliant way of working a room – real or virtual. And, this type of networking is really thriving in the zoom world.
The important thing is to have the right strategy.
Be clear about what you want to achieve .
If you’re going in to sell, you’re likely to be disappointed! However, if you set yourself a goal to positively extend your network by 2-3 new people then success is there for the taking!
Be as concise as you can in your one minute pitch and speak to everyone with the same amount of enthusiasm. Yes, there will be people that you aren’t interested in. But, remember you are getting to meet every single person in attendance – which in an ordinary open networking event you don’t get the luxury of.
It’s well worth planning what you’re going to say in advance and try to format your pitch to achieve your goal.
For example, if you want to meet more people in a certain industry, ask each person at the end of the pitch if they work with anyone like that.
As always, the magic of networking is in the follow up…
Set up a coffee (real or virtual) with your three chosen people before you leave the meeting, or get in touch with them later that day. Plan to have a genuine conversation with them. Not a sales pitch! Get to know each other and learn more about what you both want to achieve. If you can think of someone that would be a great onward conversation for them, then make that introduction and they will very likely want to do the same for you.
Do this at every event you go to and it won’t take you long to develop a healthy, productive network . Especially if you’ve done some good deeds along the way!
So, let me tell you a little story about how valuable Speed Networking can be….
Back in February 2020 (just before Covid struck!) I attended a speed networking hosted by the Doncaster Chamber.
During that fast paced and very noisy event I was fortunate to meet, Sharon Evans, Community Fundraiser for the Children’s Air Ambulance. Following our two minutes of interaction, we were keen to be on each other’s coffee date card and it’s fair to say that we have really hit it off. The conversation ranged all over the place and we quickly developed onward plans of how we could help each other.
Despite Covid interference, that relationship has become a fantastic friendship. One year on and The Growth Community and the Children’s Air Ambulance have created a very exciting strategic partnership which is already benefitting both organisations in many different ways.
So, don’t be put off by a table shuffle or a speed networking event
Approach it with a strategy and you’ll get some good results – but remember not to sell to everyone in the room.
Make three new friends and invest some time in them. They could be the key to your next best client and a whole lot more!
And if you’d like some help choosing the right networking events for your business read our blog.