Fellow Copelander Andrea Merson and I were up at U Vic last night speaking to BComm students about how to work a room. They have a networking session coming up with members of the Victoria business community in advance of their annual Business Banquet on March 10th.
He was told to memorize a 30-second elevator pitch and use that as an introduction.
I just about spat up my internals.
Worst advice ever.
Better advice would be to not talk about yourself at all, but ask questions about the person you’ve approached.
- What brings them to the session? Have they been before? Has it been a good experience? Did they find these networking sessions easy?
- Ask them about their job: What actually do they do? How long have they been there? How has their year been? Where else have they worked?
- Ask them if their company ever hires interns or co-ops. What’s the process? Have they ever worked directly with one? What do they think makes a good co-op candidate?
Don’t launch The Great Me at them from the get-go and try to convince them how interesting you are. Instead, act interested. Let them come to their own conclusions.
Elevator pitch? That is Networking Suicide. Imagine trying to pull off that approach in a bar!
The business folks at a networking session are people first and foremost and the usual rules of conduct apply.