ATTENTION – Are you a business owner and want to get better value from business networking? Do you dread standing up and delivering your pitch at networks?
Networking is known as a great way to promote your business and meet other fascinating business owners. Your fellow networkers are your ready made sales force – however they need to understand your business and the benefits of your products or service so that they can promote you.
The 40-60 second pitches fills many business owners with dread. In fact, some dread it so much that they avoid attending network functions and are missing out of potential leads. We’ve all heard the good, the bad and the ugly pitches. Many great businesses fail to get leads through networking because of weak pitches. Strong pitches can make thousands of pounds for your business.
My tips for delivering successful business network pitches to portray a positive image resulting in more business: Ready, Rehearse, Relax
Yes – get yourself ready –get prepared beforehand!
Many people turn up at a network and expect to be able to “wing it”. They scribble a few notes down whilst others are talking, then stand up and stumble over their words. They come across nervous and un-confident. No wonder! They are not giving themselves a chance of promoting themselves and their business well.
So, my first tip is simple- the day before you go to your network – think about what you want to say and how you are going to get your message across. Have an end in mind. Do you want your fellow networkers to learn something about your business? Do you want them to take action? Do you want them to identify people in their own network that may need your services or products? What is the call to action?
How can you portray your message? It’s important to get the right hook and engage your audience. When coaching business owners, we explore creative ways to design successful pitches so that their message is positively remembered.
Get yourself ready and fully prepared – “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”
“Practice makes perfect” was my old school motto. You have prepared your pitch – now it’s important that you practice your pitch out loud before you get to your network. So if your journey to your network is 10 minutes – that gives you the potential to practice at least 8 times! I recommend to my clients that they practice 20 times to begin with.
What’s the benefit of practicing?
There is nothing worse than either rushing at the end, not getting your message across, or warbling on for ages, and irritating the rest of the network. Also, if you feel anxious, then by practicing beforehand means that you know what you are going to say. You can then concentrate on the audience and remember to breath….
When we are nervous, our bodies play havoc. Our anxiety triggers a response affecting our mind and body. Adrenalin floods into the bloodstream, our heart rate increases, our breathing shallows and oxygen rushes from our brain to our large muscles. We have butterflies in our stomach, dry mouths, the shakes and it seems as if our brain stops working.
Do you want to feel like that when giving your network pitch? Of course not! You want to be relaxed and enjoy talking about your business. One way of getting more relaxed is by taking a slow deep breath in and tense your muscles, and as you breath out, slowing relax your muscles right from the top of your head all the way down to the ends of your toes. Changing our breathing and our physiology is very powerful.
If you are struggling to get your message across at Business Networks, you may be interested in a one-off coaching session – sometimes that’s all it needs – so that you are more confident delivering creative and memorable pitches at network meetings.
Lindsey Reed is an experienced NLP coach and trainer – getting the brilliant you to shine through. To see how you can improve your personal and working life contact Lindsey either by emailing her on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01832 280168 for a chat to see if she is the right coach for you.