Your 30 Second Introduction When Networking
Quick: you have 30 seconds to introduce yourself!
What can you say in that brief stretch to be memorable? Remember, you’re trying to impress a new networking contact. Or better more influence a possible interviewer.
Half a minute doesn’t give you much time, does it? So when networking, you need to make the most of your “networking speech” wherever you deliver it.
The Essence of An Elevator Pitch
How to craft the perfect elevator pitch. Sheryl Mitchell, the co-founder of professional recruitment and hiring firm All About People, says: "Your 30-second introduction is meant to capture someone’s interest. For job seekers, there are two commons situations. One is introducing yourself to new people. The other is selling yourself to interviewers."
Whether introducing or selling, make your message concise and compelling. Give just enough background to prompt the listener to ask questions.
For Job Hunters When Networking and Interviewing
Job seekers are continually introducing themselves. It’s an essential part of the business networking and interview process. Get this task right, and you will definitely stand above the rest.
Regardless if you’re meeting someone new or answering the interview question “tell me about yourself,” here’s what to cover in your 30-second introduction:
- Who you are – your title or professional identifier.
- Where you’ve been ‒ a very concise career history.
- What you’re best at ‒ key competencies you can demonstrate via accomplishments.
- Why you’re currently in the market ‒ your reason for leaving/looking.
- What you’re looking for and why ‒ your search goals and a reason for that path.
“Hi, my name is Carole Livamore, and I was most recently a production assistant at Xanif Manufacturing. Before that, I worked in quality assurance with Baker Craftwork. I help manufacturers reduce waste and save costs with better efficiencies. I was downsized from Xanif a few months ago when it released over 100 people. Now I am looking for a production supervisor role with a company that wants to raise its quality standards.”
Start With a Script
The listener should walk away knowing precisely who you are and what you can do. It helps to begin with a standardized script, like the example above.
Play with it until you find a few sentences that feel comfortable and natural for you to deliver. Then consider adding an example that shows the results of your work.
Unless you know who you’re talking to, avoid using complex language or industry jargon. You want to be able to connect with a wide variety of people and have them understand what you’re talking about.
Customize for the audience
Use the right introduction for the right situation. At job interviews, for instance, you should research the employer beforehand. That way you can tailor your responses more precisely.
When asked to tell them about yourself, tie in your previous experience directly to the position you’re being interviewed for and highlight a few relevant skills or an accomplishment that shows why you’re the ideal candidate.
Rehearse (And Repeat)
Once you’ve drafted a script, read it aloud. To yourself at first, just to experience the words coming from your lips. Try to recite it out loud in front of a mirror to perfect your body language as well.
Now, go get some feedback from people you trust. Adjust the phrasing, length and tempo till it sounds like you. Introducing yourself should be an authentic act that invites a genuine response. It’s the same if you’re networking on campus or in large corporations.
After you’ve delivered your introduction in real life, what then? Look the other person in the eye and keep quiet.
You’ve already told them enough to pique their curiosity. It’s their turn to engage. They’ll likely ask a question or tell you something about themselves. The point is that you’ve started a conversation. Use these additional networking tips to keep your discussion going.
The Art of the Brag
We may be called on to talk about our most important product – ourselves – at a moment's notice try not to overdo it or embellish your accomplishments; once again, be yourself and let the conversation flow as natural as possible.
You'll probably hate doing it the first time, the second as well. After a while, it’ll become so natural, that your 30-second introduction will flow and captivate. That’s how to be start off memorably at networking events and interviews. Good Luck!