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Apply Patience To Your Pitch

From Career Tips, 2017 Volume 10, October 2017

As I said last month, it's hard to be patient when you are worried about when you are going to land, or when you are going to engage that next contracting assignment or client. As a result, many people take too direct an approach to their pitches, and then wonder why they aren't getting better and faster results.

Most people go about elevator pitches in entirely the wrong way.
My estimate is that at best 25% of the pitches I hear at business networking events are particularly engaging and effective.

Why is this?

The biggest reason is that most people think their pitch should be about providing information. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Now this is a difficult concept for those in a job search. They are worried they will miss out on opportunities if they don't provide enough information. And they are often told that they should be sure to include critical information about their target companies, role, etc. The thinking is that you need to tell people how they can help you.

What this philosophy misses is that networking isn't a 'one and done' effort. You aren't going to get up in front of a room, make your pitch, and magically have the key people who could help you land run up and offer their assistance. And when you start a one-on-one conversation with someone you haven't met before, your pitch isn't going to jump out and grab them to connect you immediately to a great opportunity.

You need to be patient. You need to remember that networking is a marathon. You need to be focused on first getting people's attention, and then slowly building a relationship that leads to them becoming powerful eyes and ears in the market on your behalf.

When you look at your pitch through this lens, the goal comes into focus:
"To leave listeners wanting to know more."

I know I've reached my goal when people ask me questions afterwards.
That means they are engaged, and want to know more.

The more information you include in your pitch, the less room there is for people to ask questions. Instead of becoming curious, they simply file your pitch away for future use - "I know what that person does / is seeking, and if I ever need that, I'll reach out." But the odds that they actually do are low, as you haven't made yourself memorable.

Now, you may get lucky, and someone really wants an expert in your specific area right now, so that approach could get a conversation going. But that doesn't mean your pitch was particularly effective. You would have achieved the same result if you had an interesting and engaging pitch, and might have had many others interested in talking with you as well.

Next time we'll get into more aspects of my PERFECT networker template (P = Patience.)


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