Whether you attend a social function specifically to network
or not, you should always have your elevator pitch prepared. You never know who
you will meet, and in a social environment, many people are less guarded and more
approachable. That conversation about the latest big movie or the woes of a
favorite sports franchise could easily turn into a friendly question about the
kind of work you do. It would be a shame to miss out on a chance to convert a
friendly conversation into a business lead.
ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL COCKTAIL PARTY ELEVATOR PITCH
Your elevator pitch is your quick personal selling
statement. It’s the brief summary of what you do (or want to do), and a few key
points that demonstrate how good you are (or how much potential you have).
Since you are likely delivering it as part of a social conversation, it is
important that it is appropriate for the situation. Here are 5 things your
elevator pitch should accomplish:
- Sets the Stage – “I’m a marketing professional with 8 years
of digital media experience at Time Warner, ABC, and now Belton Schneider, a
media consulting firm”. The person you are talking to might be drawn to your
company, industry, or functional experience. You want to get them all out there
to create more opportunities for a meaningful connection.
- Hits 1-3 High Level Accomplishments – The goal here is to be
impressive but not obnoxious. You want them to want to take the next step –
asking more questions about your work or agreeing to a follow-up conversation.
“Our brand isn’t a household name yet, but we were just named one of the 10
companies to watch by Wired magazine and
just announced that we hired away the former head of product development of
- Succinct – cocktail parties and other social functions
generally are not good places for detailed or extended 1-on-1 conversations.
You will get interrupted or frustrate your target who probably does not want to
spend the bulk of the event talking to one individual.
- Makes a Clear Ask – Depending on the individual, the ask
might be for a follow-up conversation, a referral to someone more relevant, or
just a business card to stay in touch.
- Contains an Offer of Help – One of the best ways to get help
is to be helpful to others. As you learn about the professional and personal
interests of those you are talking to, think about how you can help them. Do
you have access to information or people that would be helpful to them?
EXAMPLE ELEVATOR PITCH
Here is an example dialogue demonstrating someone
incorporating their elevator pitch into a social conversation.
Oscar: So what kind of work do you do?
Karen: I’m the director of marketing for Sephora, the beauty
retailer. Perhaps your wife or daughter has shopped at one of our stores.
Oscar: I imagine they have. My daughter’s bathroom is filled
with little tubes and containers of who knows what. If she’s any indication,
I’m sure it’s a big business.
Karen: It is sizable. Our parent company is LVMH, the
French luxury goods company. They own around 60 brands including some others
you might be more familiar with like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior or TAG
Heuer. Sephora is the dominant retail beauty chain in Europe with 44% market
share and we now have over 500 locations in the U.S.
Oscar: I didn’t realize Sephora was owned by LVMH. I heard
the CEO speak last year at a conference.
Karen: I’m working on marketing strategies for the high
Oscar: I bet that’s a tough market to appeal to. One of our
neighbors runs marketing for Abercrombie & Fitch and she has talked about
the challenges of the high school segment.
Karen: It certainly has its challenges, particularly
reaching them online. I’d be interested in comparing notes with your neighbor
on the metrics they use to evaluate online success. Do you think she would be
willing to talk to me ?
Oscar: I’m not sure but I’d be happy to make the
Karen: Fantastic. If you give me your card, I can send you
an email with a few bullet points on my background and what I’d be interested
in talking about that you can use in your outreach to your neighbor.
Why this Works
The individual is clearly talking to someone who isn’t
intimately familiar with her business. She doesn’t abandon the pitch after the
first statement because the person she’s talking to hasn’t heard of Sephora.
She provides further context at a high level on the size of market, market
share, her role, and the parent company and other brands it owns, which she
figures he might be more familiar with.
The information about her specific role enables Oscar to make a
connection with one of his neighbors; and the company credibility statements
(LVMH parent, size of market and substantial share) increase Oscar’s
willingness to reach out to the neighbor to suggest an introduction. Finally,
the Ask is specific and it offers potential benefits to the neighbor.