Imagine walking into an event with an idea and walking out with a job! That is exactly what my friend did. She got a fantastic job, customized exactly to fit her. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is true. With a bit of preparation, she knew the right words to say when it really mattered. This is the second part of my two part post How 30 Seconds Can Change Your Life.
In my last post, I showed you how to define the key ingredients of a great 30 second pitch. Today I want to share the exact recipe I use to start conversations and deliver my pitch without sounding artificial or desperate. Keep reading and get my step by step guide, My 30 Second Business Pitch Preparation Kit, so that you can do it too.
How to start?
The best way to begin a conversation with someone new, is simply to start. I know that sounds easy, but in reality it can be quite challenging. If you don’t have a clear idea how you want to start a conversation, you might feel unsure and a thousand questions could pop into your mind and cloud your thinking:
- Who should I talk to first?
- How to begin? What should I say?
- When should I start talking?
- Is that person even interested in talking to me?
- Should we shake hands? For how long?
Sometimes starting a conversation can feel really intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to say. That’s one of the reasons why I am writing this two part article. I want to guide you. Now is the time to think about how you want to present yourself and ultimately what you want to say, so that next time you can begin a conversation with confidence and a clear plan – Success guaranteed.
My Recipe for an agile 30 Second Pitch
A super quick, 10 second introduction is the quickest and simplest way to tell who you are and what you want to talk about, as well as test if the other person is interested in hearing more. There is really very little point in giving your full pitch to someone who does not want to listen.
How much can you really say in 10 seconds?
Quite a lot actually, if the words are well selected. Aim for 10 words or fewer. When I use this technique, the point is not about trying to tell all of the most interesting things about me as quickly as I can. Rather, I am choosing one specific thing to say, something that I know my target audience is interested in hearing. In the first few seconds it is critical to put out information that will spark the interest of the people I want to connect with. This is my chance to put out my name and the who and what of my offer. Using this strategy, I aim to quickly find out if the other person is interested or not.
The first information I share is where the key ingredients of who, what and how from the first part of this article become very important.
- Who are you? – Say your name. ‘Hi, I’m Elizabeth.’
- I help (who) do (what) – Give a brief introduction to the ‘who’ and ‘what’ you offer
- so they can – This is the benefit or result you want to offer. This part of the sentence may or may not apply to your specific pitch.
Here are a few examples:
- I help people relax and remove stress related tension so they can sleep through the night. (Massage Therapist)
- I provide programs and services that create a work environment of employee empowerment and support the total operation in meeting its goals through its most valuable resource – its PEOPLE. (Human Resource Specialist)
- I work with busy professionals to get fit and feel great without giving up the foods that they love. (Fitness Coach)
I suggest taking a moment now to prepare a few options that you can use to start. Use My 30 Second Business Pitch Preparation Kit to get started. Once you have a list of 2-4 ideas, use these starter sentences the next time you are in a networking situation. This is a very effective way to see which ones work well and which ones you should change. With practice, you will become more comfortable with starting conversations that flow easily and naturally.
After I introduce myself with a sentence or two, I know that the key pieces of information are already out there. It is time to check in with my listener. Is this person interested, or can I already see her eyes glazing over? Maybe he is already looking for someone else to talk to? This is the moment where it is really helpful to be agile. Pushing forward with a rehearsed pitch when someone is not interested could give others the impression that you are desperate or even robotic. If the other person is not interested, stop. Don’t go any further with your pitch, even if you are really excited about practicing your delivery. There is no point in wasting anyone’s time, even if it is only 30 seconds. I am not saying that you have to stop the conversation, perhaps this person is a great contact or someone who you can meet for a drink next Friday night. I am saying keep your pitch agile. If they are not interested in your pitch, talk about something else. If they are interested, however, this is your signal to follow through confidently with the second part of your practiced 30 second pitch.
After using the 10 second introduction I described above to establish a connection, I look for a response from the other person. This can be anything, a positive facial expression, a head nod or even a comment, ‘Oh, that sounds interesting. Tell me more!’ Great! That is the cue to offer more information and key ingredient #3 – how you add value (from the first part of this article).
When creating your own pitch answer these questions:
- How do you deliver the results that you promised?
- How do you want this person to help you?
This part of your pitch should be well practiced, because 30 seconds is not a lot of time. This is not the time to geek out about the finer points of why you love the work that you do, or why everyone should be using the new app you developed. No, this is the time to stay focused. After making a very attractive 10 second introduction, you have the other person’s attention. This is the moment to say what you can offer and how you want the other person to respond. What do you want? Are you looking for a job? A sales lead? A networking buddy? Let the other person know what you want and make it easy for them to say, ‘YES!’
Tips to help you get started
- Do write out and plan at least two drafts of what you want to say.
- Do prepare and practice your 30 second pitch a lot.
- Do keep it brief. This is not the time to describe everything. Remember you might only have 30 seconds.
- Do keep your listener in focus. Make a clear connection and explain how the information you are sharing is important for your listener.
- Do ask for what you want. What do you want this person to do? It is really difficult for someone to help you if they don’t actually know what you want. Are you looking for clients? Employment opportunities? Networking references? Don’t assume that people know what you want. Be as clear as possible and make it easy for the other person to say, ‘YES!’
- Do close the conversation. If you are at a networking event, the conversation might develop and flow for quite a while. That’s great! A chance encounter, however, might last exactly 28.5 seconds. In either case, take control of the conversation. After you have shared key information and the conversation is over, remember to express your thanks. Be polite and clearly mention your next step. Will you follow up with an email tomorrow? Send your CV next week? Be as clear as possible and then actually follow up as promised.
In this two part article I talked a lot about how a great 30 second pitch can actually change your life. You don’t need to use sleazy sales tricks or be a natural networker. Anyone can write authentic, money-making pitches once you understand the behind-the-scenes work that goes into one.
Honestly, a lot of people will just skim over this article and move on. That’s fine. I am not writing this article for them. But you are still reading, so I know that you are different. Maybe you are looking for a new internship or you want to land your dream job, in either case, having an outstanding pitch can mean the difference between taking the next step in your career and walking away empty handed.
If you’re ready, I can show you how to write powerful yet agile pitches you can use and get the results you want — again and again. Get My 30 Second Business Pitch Preparation Kit and I will take you step by step through the same process that my friend used to land her dream job.
Struggling to get your 30 second pitch together?
Download my My 30 Second Business Pitch Preparation Kit to begin crafting your 30 Second Pitch today.
Here is what you get in the kit:
- My 3 Key Ingredients Worksheet
- The Ultimate Guide for Crafting a Great Introduction
- My 30 Second Pitch Recipe Worksheet
- 30 Second Pitch Checklist
In the comments below, tell me about your experiences with introducing yourself and networking in the past. I’d love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment or question below. I read every response. If you find this article helpful, help us help others and please share within your community.