Being able to network is an important and valuable skill, it can make a big difference to your career. Networking is all about meeting people and making connections, creating links to opportunities and information. While simply meeting people may seem easy, building connections for future opportunities can be challenging and intimidating. Here are some information and tips to help get you started.
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Consider preparing a networking pitch to begin building your professional network.
What is a networking pitch?
A networking pitch is also known as the ‘elevator pitch’ or ‘networking speech’. It is a short, convincing speech you use to spark someone's interest in you and your future goals. It is not a long formal speech, just prepare some points about yourself to easily start a conversation with someone.
Think of your networking pitch as an introduction to yourself, what you do, your goals and what you have to offer. Your pitch should create a good impression and connection. Your pitch should not be about getting a job on the spot, but rather a casual conversation you hope will lead to a more formal meeting or discussion in future.
Why should you prepare a networking pitch?
Most jobs are advertised through referrals or word of mouth. The more people in you network, the better chance you have of hearing about these opportunities. A networking pitch makes finding a job or work experience opportunity easier. It helps you prepare the message you want to give people and promotes you as a possible candidate for future opportunities.
What information should you include in your networking pitch?
Think about what you want people to remember most about you after they have met you. Whatever it may be, it has to excite you and show your passion and enthusiasm. Everything you say should be interesting, well thought through and valuable. If it makes you smile talking about it, it would have a lasting impact on the listener.
Your networking pitch should include the following information:
1. Who you are
State who you are by introducing yourself, what you do and where you are working or studying. Remember to open with a friendly greeting and clearly, state your name.
2. Your goal or objective
Think about why you are telling the person your networking pitch. Mention what your goal is, what you are looking for, what you want to do, currently doing, or interested in doing. For example, are you looking for a job? - What type of job? Are you looking to develop a new skill or gain experience? - What skill? Or, what sort of work experience? Be clear and specific about what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask or let people know how they can help you.
3. Explain why this is your goal or objective
Think about the reasons for your goal, objective or why you want what you want. You need to mention your motivation to achieve your career goal. It is important to show that you are not just interested in money but have a passion and understanding of your career objective.
4. What you have to offer
Explain what you can do and include your unique selling point. Think about what skill, strength, ability or quality you have. What are you good at doing? What were the best compliments you have received? Could you potentially be a solution to the company or employer’s problems? Be specific with what you can accomplish or offer that can be of value to the person or benefit the company or organisation they work for.
- Take your time to prepare your networking pitch - think about it, change and re-do it until your networking pitch describes you and your goals.
- Get straight to the point. Take out any information that doesn’t need to be there. The shorter, the better, you don’t want to lose someone's interest by talking for too long
- Practice and memorise it! Read it out loud. The more you practice your networking pitch, the more natural you will sound. Practice it with a friend, family member or in front of the mirror until it feels natural. If you don’t practice, you might say it too fast, forget some information or sound unnatural.
- Your pitch should sound natural in conversation, don’t sound like a salesperson that is too rehearsed.
- Keep it simple, do not use big fancy words that may confuse the person.
- Always be aware of your body language while you talk. How you say your pitch is just as important as what you say.
- Include the person in your speech. Ask them what they do to get to know them better and find a connection. Or request a meeting if they seem interested in you, for example, “When are you available to talk about it in more detail?”
- Take the person’s business card and offer your own or a way for them to get in touch with you.
- Show confidence by believing in yourself and what you say.
Try the JobStarter learning to improve your communication skills today!
Preparing a networking pitch can help you start a natural conversation that can lead to more connections or future opportunities. If you are clear and concise about your abilities and goals, a potential employer can easily see how you can fit into their company or help them achieve their goals, or they will remember you when talking to other people. Remember, you want to the person to walk away remembering you and some relevant things about you.