Networking and the 30 Second Elevator Pitch – by Josh Hinds

Assuming you’ve never heard of the 30 second elevator pitch before here’s a quick summary…

Imagine you’re in an elevator and you notice someone you want to make a connection with. The challenge is that you only have say, 30 seconds or so to fully describe your idea, skills, abilities, etc. (because that’s typically how long it’ll take before they reach the floor they are going to get off on).

Basically, the idea is that you’ve got to create as much of an impact on the person you’ve just met as possible so that they’ll want to re-connect with you.

Certainly, there are those out there who are master’s of the elevator pitch. In fact, I’d recommend taking some time to develop your “pitch” into a well developed mini-speech which you can deliver easily and comfortably when the time is right to do so.

But for the purpose of this article let’s look at a way to extend the connection without having to put the focus on ourselves.

At first glance what I just said might sound confusing.


Here’s how it works.

You introduce yourself, but rather than spouting off things about yourself and your abilities… consider the following idea. Let the person you’ve just met know that you are interested in hearing more about them.

Ask them a bit about their business and what they have going on currently. Listen intently and take a moment to ask them for their business card. Mention that you run across a lot of people from day to day and that you’re willing to keep an eye out for people who might be good prospects for their products or services.

Then ask them if the information on their card (which you just got from them) is the best way to send potential business referral sources their way. This is likely to lead to an opportunity to further the conversation right then and there, but if not, don’t worry. Simply move on with your day being aware of potential referrals for the person you just met as they come about.

The important thing is to actually follow through on what you’ve told the person you met originally. When you run across someone who would be a good connection for them, do just that. Connect them. If you’re wondering how this will benefit you, giving business to others, well that’s a valid question so let’s explore that a bit further.

It works because, first, you’ve done something that the vast majority of people just don’t do. You’ve focused on how you can benefit them directly — and with no hidden agendas. And that’s an important aspect to remember — don’t pass along business just because you think another person will reciprocate your doing so.

For one thing, people can see through it, and it won’t come across as genuine. Another reason is that it may very well be that while one person may not directly send business your way, they may indirectly do so, and if you’re trading referrals (in your own mind anyway) based on what others give you you’re likely to never know that they were indirectly responsible for the referrals you received.

Plus, it’s a lot more fun helping others when it doesn’t come with a price. And that holds true whether you’re the one receiving or giving.

Consider for a moment how many times during the day you find yourself on the receiving end of someone else’s elevator pitch. Now consider how many times during the day you come into contact with someone who makes the entire point of contact about helping you grow your business? My guess is that I don’t have to further elaborate on all the benefits associated with your making the decision to practice the second approach do I?

You see, when you focus on connecting others you put yourself into a sort of flow, whereby others begin to do the same for you. Plus, you’re going to stand out quite a bit the next time you do follow up with the person you’ve met, because you’ll be able to lead off the conversation with something to the effect of, “Hi, we met on the elevator at such and such the other day and you gave me your card and I think I might have someone who might be a potential source of business for you.”

Again, let me ask you… how do you think you will be positioned in the mind of the person you’ve just followed up with? I’m guessing you know the answer… So give it a try and set out being a connector first.


Josh Hinds is a speaker, author, and entrepreneurial educator. You can visit him at