I was attending my first official networking event as a business owner a few weeks ago, and my boyfriend was giving me some pointers as someone who has owned his own business for several years. When I would attend networking events in the past, as an employee of an organization, those events weren't nearly as anxiety-inducing. Shake the person's hand, say your name, what you do, and that would pretty much be it. "Oh, my roommate is in marketing," they might say. Or, "Oh cool. Social media, man. Amirite?"
Going into those events as the owner of your own business and knowing whatever you say - or don't say - could be the difference between paying your mortgage that month or pulling from your savings (again) - can make anyone tongue-tied.
For someone who is a writer at heart AND Sicilian, there isn't much I can say in the span it takes to ride an elevator (20-30 seconds). So I decided to hit the timer on my phone and see what I could get out without feeling rushed. It took some practice, but I got it down to 53 seconds. I decided my elevator ride with people was taking us to the top of the Empire State Building, and they would just have to deal with that.
This is what I had it boiled down to:
1) Who I was - Cassandra D'Alessio
2) What I do - own a small marketing agency here in Charlotte
3) Who I do it for - small businesses mostly. Anyone who can't afford someone full-time for marketing, but needs the marketing help.
4) Why I do it (this is the big one) - because I enjoy marketing - it's more than Facebook. It's strategy. There are so many wonderful small businesses/organizations out there who need to make a big splash with a little budget - that's where we come in.
I stumbled through my first few pitches at that event, and I definitely noticed a few eyes glazing over as I was exceeding my 30 second limit, but it was good practice. With every elevator pitch, I'm receiving feedback (either verbal or nonverbal) on how I'm doing. And that is tightening my approach. Maybe in six months, I'll even get it down to 50 seconds.