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The Elevator Pitch that Elevates: How to Craft Your Networking Introduction

Crafting an engaging elevator pitch for laid-back networking events can be a fine art, so we sought advice from founders and CEOs to get their top seven strategies. From connecting authentically without the sales pitch to sharing personal, relatable stories, these leaders provide valuable insights for making a memorable first impression.

  • Connect Authentically, Not Salesy

  • Keep Pitches Short and Consumer-Focused

  • Exude Passion, Invite Dialogue

  • Balance Professionalism with Personality

  • Make Conversational, Memorable Adventures

  • Turn Jargon into Relatable Concepts

  • Share Personal, Relatable Stories

Connect Authentically, Not Salesy

The key to an engaging elevator pitch in casual settings is focusing on connecting authentically rather than selling yourself. Craft a simple, genuine opening centered around your passion or the mission behind your business—avoid rattling off achievements or sales statistics. For example, “I started my artisanal candle company because I wanted to bring the cozy scent of a crackling fireplace to more spaces.” This draws people in based on shared interests, not pressure. 

Next, have a thoughtful question or two ready to continue the conversation based on how they respond. This could be asking where they'd want to add hominess with a scent or how they make their own spaces more welcoming. People will remember an organic, enjoyable dialogue much more than a sales pitch. The goal is to form real relationships. If there's interest, they'll ask to continue the conversation later. Relaxed networking is about discovery through friendly back-and-forth, not promoting accomplishments. Focus on that human connection.

Keep Pitches Short and Consumer-Focused

Make the elevator pitch very short and easy to understand. Focus on the benefits to the consumer rather than the work you do. Finally, contextualize your response to the person you are talking to, if possible.

Exude Passion, Invite Dialogue

Crafting an engaging pitch starts with recognizing the true essence of your work. Let's consider mine: "Hi, I'm a one-woman orchestra leading a dynamic education company that brings the vibrancy of Japan to life through language learning. We're like musical conductors orchestrating a symphony of Japanese phrases and characters for our eager learners. Ever experienced the thrill of learning to say konnichiwa or reading your first manga in Japanese? That's the euphoria we spread all day long." 

This light-hearted pitch exudes passion, invites dialogue, and avoids a salesy approach. Whether you're talking business or hobbies, the key is to make it personal and relatable.

Nooran Zafarmand, Co-Founder and CEO, Japamana

Balance Professionalism with Personality

Creating a captivating elevator pitch for relaxed and fun networking events requires a balance of professionalism and personality. Start by clearly stating what your company does, but in a way that is engaging and relatable. 

For example, at Startup House, we build software that solves problems and makes people's lives easier. But instead of using technical jargon, we might say something like, 'We're the wizards behind the scenes, creating magic in the form of user-friendly apps and websites.' This not only grabs attention but also sparks curiosity. Another tip is to inject humor or a personal story into your pitch. 

For instance, you could say, “We're like the MacGyver of software development, turning everyday challenges into innovative solutions.” Remember, the key is to be authentic, memorable, and leave a lasting impression.

Alex Stasiak, CEO and Founder, Startup House

Make Conversational, Memorable Adventures

For a fun, relaxed elevator pitch, keep it short and sweet: "I run a quirky bakery where every cake is an adventure in flavor and design. We're all about adding a dash of joy to celebrations!" This approach is conversational, memorable, and sparks curiosity, making it perfect for casual networking.

Justin Silverman, Founder and CEO, Merchynt

Turn Jargon into Relatable Concepts

My approach for a spellbinding elevator pitch is to turn complex jargon into easy-to-grasp concepts, resonating with people's daily lives. 

Let's say, “Hi, I'm a tireless ringleader at our tech firm, where we brew digital magic. Think of us as Dumbledore's Army in the world of Silicon Valley, unlocking the mysteries of tech one spell at a time. Ever wished you had a Marauder's Map for navigating the digital world? That's precisely the enchantment we're crafting!”

This pitch steers clear of salesy tones and rather sparks an animated conversation. It unveils my multi-role involvement with an enjoyable Harry Potter reference. The key is to be authentic, inject casual humor, and stimulate their curiosity. Keep it light-hearted and relatable, inviting engaging dialogue.

Abid Salahi, Co-Founder and CEO, FinlyWealth

Share Personal, Relatable Stories

In my experience, the best way to make a lasting impression is to be authentic and relatable. For relaxed and fun networking events, it's important to remember that the goal is not to sell your product or service but to make connections and build relationships. 

One of the best ways to do this is to share a personal story that demonstrates your passion and expertise. For example, I once attended a networking event where the speaker introduced himself by sharing a story about how he became interested in his field of work. He explained that as a child, he was always fascinated by technology and would spend hours taking apart and reassembling his toys. 

This passion eventually led him to start his own successful tech company. His story was relatable and engaging, and it demonstrated his expertise in the field. It left a lasting impression on me and made me want to learn more about his business.

Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade


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