With Lily Ting - The Strength Coach
You may know your job inside out, but explaining what you do to others is a challenge. When people’s attention spans are fleeting, it’s important to create an impact whether during an interview or networking. Lily Ting, the WIP Strength Coach shares how to prepare and present the most important pitch you’ll ever give - YOU.
What Is a Pitch?
A pitch is a reflection of who you are, and how you demonstrate your energy, how you perform at work, what you have to offer. Consider your tone, speech volume and body language. You want to come across fresh, genuine and passionate, so think about the situation you are in - what really needs to be said and what can be left out? To do this you need to be comfortable with all aspects of your career story, the chapters of your story.
“A pitch is not about over selling, and people prefer authenticity,” says Lily. “Your career story is part of your elevator pitch, and the pitch should convey some emotion to connect you to your audience on a human level. By doing this, people are more likely to ask questions and create a conversation. Because you have used language that they understand, then they will be curious about you. People connect to your story and this is how you create an impact.”
Dare to be different
A pitch is a way to differentiate yourself, so you don’t want to tell the same story as another person who does a similar job as you. You want to say something that helps people to remember your uniqueness. This doesn’t need to be the most important project you have ever worked on, but it is the thing that people resonate with.
Lily gives the example of a project manager. “Although this is becoming a more recognised job title, no two project managers have the same roles and responsibilities. So you need to differentiate yourself from the idea that your audience may have of a project manager.” Lily suggests getting more specific about what you do. Saying 'I created a real time inventory tracking device' or ’'I streamline accounting processes' is lot more tangible than ‘I’m a project manager’.”
When you are explaining your job, try to bring people into you work rather than keeping them at arm's length, thinking that you are dazzling them. Lily uses the example of a CFO. “People may recognise that this is a senior role and are impressed, but impressed by what? A title, not you. Explaining your actions and outcomes as CFO will help people learn about you and demystify your role. People love to learn and connect! Your pitch and your story is not a boastful thing, it is about connecting to people on a more human and emotional level.”
Lily explains that the words you use to describe yourself should relate and resonate to the person you are speaking to. “Often we speak a different language form job to job, but you want to avoid relying too heavily on terminology and industry specific words. Keep it simple, don’t use buzzwords or acronyms that only mean something to you and your colleagues when speaking to someone outside your business.” Lily uses the example of a CRM specialist. “What does that mean? A clearer story is ‘I create and maintain client loyalty for my business’. This speaks to people, and every word resonates with your audience. People need to be able to visual what you do from the words that you say.”
OK, but are they listening?
When it comes to getting comfortable with telling your story, practice is key. Observe how your audience is relating to your tale - are they engaged? If it appears that people tend to lose focus after the first few sentences, try a different approach next time. “It’s your story, but it’s not a script,” Lily says. “Don’t be afraid to adapt and change your story! You might even get fed up with explaining who you are time and time again, so switch it up to suit your mood and your audience.”
remember why you're doing this
“The pitch is an opening to potential future opportunities,” Lily says. “You never know who can help you, or more importantly who you can help. Many people think of the pitch as an open and closed event, stand up, speak and then it is done. You story is not something you say out into a vacuum, you should bring people in rather than projecting it out to see what happens. It creates a connection.”
Overall, an introductory pitch encourages people to ‘read’ more of your story by getting and staying in touch. It is the first taster of your book, so don’t try and give away the whole story in one go!
What's your advice? Let us know in the comments!
After a extensive career as a recruiter and Deputy General Manager at the French Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Lily began coaching in 2008. She helps clients to craft their most authentic story, enabling them to present themselves with maximum impact.