Effective Networking (The Pitch)

by Darius Kazemi on May 12, 2006

in networking

Whenever I’m on my way to an event where there’s going to be game developers who I don’t know, I’m busy composing a canned introduction for the night. This canned intro, or pitch, is one to three sentences long, and it describes where I work and what I do. An example of an old one I might have used back when I was a student:

I’m a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts, where I run the Game Development Club. I do serious games work–you might have heard of MassBalance, the Massachusetts state budget game. Yeah, it sounds pretty boring to me, too, but over a million people played it, so who am I to judge?

Notice it’s got a little humor, a little bragging, and a couple of facts, all packed into three sentences. You want to inform people about yourself, but you also want them smiling when you’re done with your pitch. If your current job is really boring, and you think you’ll bore people to tears just on job title alone, then spin it like I did in the example. Some light self-deprecating humor can work wonders.

Isn’t That Kind of… Phony?

Some of you might wonder if this kind of self-pitch is phony. And it certainly has the potential to be phony. But I have a trick I use to keep myself from being permanently reduced to a few sentences: pitches are ONE NIGHT ONLY.

That’s right. Think of a pitch for tonight’s chapter meeting. Use it all night. At next month’s meeting, think of something different to say. Not just a different rewording of the same facts: inject something new into there. You’ve hopefully done something of note in the intervening four weeks that you can slip into your pitch.

The Bottom Line

Practice your pitch in the mirror. Deliver it with eye contact. Be funny. Be warm. Smile. Keep practicing in the mirror. Make up different pitches while you shower. You’ll get it eventually.

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