It is reported that the second biggest fear people face is public speaking. We frequently see it at networking events where someone is so nervous giving their pitch that the whole room feels for them and shares their agony. So are there some simple tips we can use to help us make an effective and memorable pitch whilst out networking? The simple answer is yes, the longer answer is:
The first thing to remember is that everyone in the room is on your side. No one is sitting there waiting for you to fail; more than likely they are sitting there every bit as nervous as you. So never be worried about peoples’ perceptions of you – everyone in the room is willing you to succeed.
Before going to any event make sure that you take a little time to prepare. For seasoned networkers this may be done in the car on the way to the event but for many of us it is best to spend a bit of time the day before. It need not take long, you just need to get a clear idea of what you want to mention and how people in the room can help you. The more specific you can be about what assistance others can give, the more likely you are to get that golden nugget of information or that killer contact.
Effective Networking Pitch Tips
Having ascertained what you want to say, by all means practise but do not try and learn paragraphs of text parrot fashion. Every time you pitch it should be fresh – to you and to the audience. There is nothing worse than the same words regurgitated time after time. Just know your main points to get across; the context around them will vary each and every time.
When it is your turn to speak, stand up, take a deep breath and take your time. A few well chosen words spaced out over a minute will be far more effective than a several hundred words delivered machine gun style. Also, as you speak, look around the room and try to make eye contact with everyone – it will add so much impact to your message.
So in short:
- Prepare but don’t learn a speech
- Have a very specific message planned
- Tell people exactly how they can help you
- Take your time when delivering the pitch
- Make eye contact
- Enjoy it!