You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Imagine you’re at a networking event and you are introduced to a community leader or company executive and you’re asked “What do you do?” As a young professional, you have probably heard the term “elevator pitch”. What is your story? How do you introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met? It might sound frightening at first, but hopefully after reading this it will seem a little less intimidating.
Start by deciding what information you want to communicate in your introduction. It’s important to know your audience, as that will determine the delivery of your story. Make a list of key points that you want to get across to the listener. Then, go back and refine the list to the top five to ten points. If you are looking for a job, think about what you would like a potential employer to know about your skill set. The objective of a good introduction is to keep it brief and convey your key points clearly and effectively. Keep in mind that the end goal is to make long-lasting connections, so make it memorable.
Now it’s time to practice. It may sound a little funny at first. Why should you have to rehearse what you already know? Practice is essential to ensure you are conveying your message clearly. Ask your friends to listen to your intro. Typically, your friends will give you their honest opinions, and since they know you well, they can also help you fill in some of the blanks. If you’re not ready to pitch yourself to your friends, try recording yourself. Go back and listen to yourself and make sure you’re hitting all your key points, not speaking too fast, and most importantly, that your pitch sounds believable.
Today I challenge you to reevaluate your story. Decide what makes you stand out among your peers. Refine your pitch and make a memorable first impression.
About the Author
Nancy Rice is a Project Manager at SYNNEX Corporation. She mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers with Upstate Warrior Solution and is currently serving as the Blogging Lead for the Pulse Young Professionals Marketing Committee. Nancy enjoys traveling locally & abroad, golfing, and spending time with her family.