What do you say at networking events when you have mere seconds to speak. You might be addressing one person, a table or the entire room.
This year, I went to many networking events and found these three tips work.
- content: say something worthwhile
- sizzle: make it memorable
- contact: stay in touch
Content: Say Something WorthwhileWe all have competitors, including the client's inertia. You probably look, sound and dress like your competitors. You may even sell identical products or have similar services.
There's an easy way to get the clay for your message.
Ask your colleagues, clients, friends and family how they would describe you to others. You may find they don't understand what you do well enough to refer you. Help them. You may find insights too.
Don't expect consensus because people see the way they are. You want a message that's tailored to your clients.
Sizzle: Make It MemorableNow you're ready to mold your clay.
If your message gets forgotten, it won't get passed on. Practice and ask for suggestions from the people above. A clever phrase may help unless your competitors can also use it. Avoid clichés about "taking business to the next level" or your "personal touch". Also ditch words like "honesty", "integrity" and "trust".
You aren't a parrot. Allow your words to evolve and change to suit the situation.
Stumped? You'll find examples of memorable messages in Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Amazon unaffiliated link).
Contact: Stay In TouchNow it's time to put your clay creation into a kiln to see if it's built to last.
Maintaining connections is easier than ever, thanks to LinkedIn. If you made a reasonable impression and have a good profile, the people you met will probably agree to connect to you.
After an event. I take the business cards I received
- write the date, name of the event and any personal notes on the back
- scan the cards with my still-amazing scanner
- shred them
- reach out on LinkedIn
This is the final post of 2010.
The best to you and yours during the holidays.
May your 2011 be as nice as heaven!
- Three lessons from 2009 [final post of 2009]
- Move beyond "tell them thrice" [final post of 2008]
- Three communication tips: jokes, length, offense [final post of 2007]
- How do you market to your network?
- Gift ideas for your business
- image courtesy of clix (Brazil)
PS Be sure to bring plenty of business cards when you network.