The Eagle is an immensely proud bird.
After nearly 10 years running my business, I must confess to no longer attending many business networking meetings. I am proud to say that most of our work comes via referral, recommendation and LinkedIn.
However, I recently attended one such meeting at which there were a dozen businesses present. 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. No, it was the way in which individuals introduced 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 was this? 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 my four practical tips for creating the right impression:
1. Find a place where you can see everyone and they can see you.
2. Take a step (or sit) forward, make eye contact with your audience, smile and pause. In the pause…
3. Take a deep breath (to control any nerves) and project your voice (this may seem like shouting but you’re not) to deliver your ‘elevator pitch’: announce your name, the name of your business and main benefits (up to three) your product/service provides* If time allows…
4. Tell your audience what you are seeking to achieve from being at the meeting.
Practice, practice, practice this at home; either in a mirror or to someone else (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 to discuss how we can help you to present the best version of yourself.
Be proud of who you are.
*For the record, my elevator pitch is 20 seconds duration. Remember, less is more!