I talk a lot about the importance of preparation with regard to planned pitches and presentations but what is equally, if not more crucial to creating a positive and professional impression, is how you come across during chance encounters.
Whether you are at an event, a meeting, or – as this story goes – a training course, being ready to calmly, confidently and concisely communicate about who you are and what you offer is vital and can make the difference between forming a new connection and losing an opportunity.
Grab attention and keep it
It is said you have around seven seconds to make a first impression. What I train people to do is make a strong, positive first impression and at the same time, encourage the other party to want to find out more.
A thoroughly rehearsed few lines that come off as robotic and unnatural will not achieve this and will come across stilted and awkward. But knowing exactly what you need to communicate the key information in a short space of time, and having a number of ways you can do this flexibly and instinctively, will give you the edge and make you memorable.
The ultimate chance meeting
I am thrilled to have partnered with Scale Up Scotland who deliver programmes for companies who are scaling up. This incredible initiative was devised and created by Sir Tom Hunter and his team at The Hunter Foundation. The events are organised by Ken Whipp and held at the stunning surroundings of Blair Estate in Ayr, HQ for The Hunter Foundation.
I have recently delivered 2 x 1 day courses for one of their cohorts. One day, the sun was shining and after a busy and intense morning I asked the cohort to take 15 minutes outside to go over and make any amendments to their ‘one minute pitch’ that we had been working on.
I remained in the room with a couple of the cohort, when Sir Tom walked in, accompanied by Theo Paphitis (retail magnate and entrepreneur, known for appearances on BBC 1’s Dragon’s Den) and former Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell. Sir Tom spoke warmly to the delegates as they returned to the room and before they left, asked each of them to deliver a 15 second pitch.
I held my breath and was blown away by the professionalism and confidence of the cohort. The timing could not have been better and I have never had a better timed, more apt situation occur to underline exactly why learning these techniques is so important! Mark has since followed up with one of the delegates to find out more about their business – a true testament to the power of preparation.
Whilst you may not find a Dragon walking into your next networking event, the next person who is going to hire you, buy from you or want to work from you could. Have a listen to my podcast series on elevator pitching which covers all aspects of getting this right. https://www.maryannejohnston.co.uk/resources/podcasts/season-2-the-elevator-pitch-4-episodes/
And if you would like to find out more about the training I deliver in this area, please get in touch.