I've been asked recently to contribute to a new book on how to market professional services. My contribution was around networking and some of the ideas that get us noticed in the very distracting, short-attention span, environment that can be a networking event.
Most people are familiar with the 'elevator pitches' or the 30 seconds in which we introduce ourselves to people when (and if) they ask what it is that we do. However I notice that people still tend to give their profession in the introduction - I'm an accountant or an engineer or a doctor or a (take your pick). Big problem with that is that the other person now has you stereotyped and 'in your box'.
At this point 'selective listening' kicks in as - given that they now have you in a box - they can assume that they can 'fill in' the conversation - or worse, move on.
To make your elevator pitch compelling and remarkable it must be of interest to the listener. So here's what I suggest: 'Raise the Pain and Position the Gain'
If you've chosen your networking arena you should have a pretty good idea of the things impacting on the majority of the people attending the event. With this in mind, research the big issues for these people - what's causing the pain in their market. Then when it comes to a question on what it is you do you just say 'You know the way (insert the pain) well, I (position yourself/company as the solution/gain)'.