Recently, I have attended three business networking meetings. I am very selective about attending such events, as I recognise that I could spend most of my working week doing so!
At each event there was between 30-40 businesses represented. Great I thought; I am going to meet some enthusiastic and engaging new contacts. How wrong was I!
It was not the art of networking itself that so disappointed me (I have several respected colleagues that deliver training for such events). No, it was the way in which individuals publicly announced their name, business and what they do. Anecdotally, I would say that 80% of those individuals failed to present themselves effectively and, as a consequence, failed to engage me and lost my interest.
Why should this be? Well, for many people, they simply fear speaking in public – even for 30 seconds to introduce themselves and their business. For some, they do not know how to condense what it is they want to say down to 30 seconds. Whatever the reason, do NOT apologise for being there or inform others that you ‘don’t want to bore them’!
Here are four practical tips for creating the right impression:
- Find a space where you can see everyone and they can see you
- Take a step forward, make eye contact with your audience, smile and pause. In the pause…
- Take a deep breath (to control any nerves) and project your voice (this may seem like shouting but you’re not!) to announce your name, the name of your business and main benefits (up to three) of your product/service. If time allows…
- Tell your audience what you are looking for eg ‘I am looking for a recommendation to an excellent local accountant/solicitor’
Practice, practice, practice this at home; either in a mirror or to your family (get them to stand at the opposite side of the room to you). Can they hear you? Are you articulate? Do you speak with confidence?
Finally, try this out the next time you’re at a networking meeting. Alternatively, feel free to give me a call at Eaglei to discuss how we can help you further to make the right impression.