Have you ever dreaded going to a networking event? Maybe you weren’t sure who was going to be there or who you would talk to, or even, what you would say?
Having a message for your business planned out and ready for a networking event can certainly calm some of the anxiety.
How do you answer the question, “so, what do you do?” In my networking experience, when I ask others this question I get a variety of answers. Some business professionals use the direct approach and answer simply with their title, “I’m a Realtor”. Other sales people launch in a long monologue about their product or service that not only goes on forever, it also turns into a sales pitch (ugh, get me out of here!).
The people that I tend to be more interested in engaging in conversation are those who give a short and intriguing answer. Isn’t that true? They answer the question in a way that gets me to ask more questions, because now I’m interested.
Tips for a great networking intro:
- Keep it short (but not too short!). Think about when you ask the question, how short or long of an answer do you want to hear? If it’s even a couple of minutes long, we disengage. Attention spans are short today. We want to know quickly about what they do, and then decide if we want to know more. If it’s too brief, it leaves too much up to the imagination. “I’m in insurance.” What type of insurance? Maybe I recently had a bad experience with a life insurance agent, I then assume that’s what you do, and then you’re now stuck in the “bad life insurance agent” category in my head. Since changing your category is really difficult, it is better, and much easier, to get it right in the first place. We want to give a short and intriguing answer that will spark a conversation.
- Give a brief example of the type of person you help, or the problem you solve. When you give an example it tells a story. People relate to stories. This also gives them information on the type of client you help. They may even think of a person’s name that they could potentially refer to you!
- Share how you help people in a unique way. This is how you solve the problem, or the benefits of working with you. The answer will give them a clear understanding of exactly how you help, and ideally will open up their minds for some follow up questions.
When interviewed by a local radio station, one of my Referrals For Life® clients – Anna Dornier – used this exact technique to answer the reporter’s questions about her business. Here is how she answered the reporter’s question about what they do at The Club Lafayette:
“You know how people lose their motivation and momentum when they start their New Year’s resolutions because they get disappointing results when they first start a new fitness and nutrition routine? Well, we help them get back on track and develop a solid fitness and nutrition plan that fits their lifestyle with our proven 5-Step Fitness Makeover System which has helped hundreds of clients achieve their health and fitness goals and maintain them for life.”
For me, I know that when I have something planned out to say, I feel more confident when entering a networking event. I hope this information was helpful to you and you’re able to use it on your next networking adventure!