Networking. How to stand out from the crowd

Networking is a great way to spread the news about our business. We might be networking with fellow business owners or potential clients. We might be networking in person or online.

Either way, the thing that almost without doubt fills us with fear is how on earth do we introduce ourselves?!

In fact, this ‘how do I explain what I do’ is the focus of many network groups who even give awards out for the best one-liner!

Why is introducing ourselves so hard?

A LOT rides on us being able to introduce ourselves clearly, and we know it.

We’ve experienced being introduced to someone and then they rabbit on for what seems like hours about themselves. (Yawn) We don’t want to be that person.

We know that first contact counts, and we don’t want to muck it up. So there’s a lot of pressure right there!

And sometimes we actually can’t put into words what we do!

Why being able to clearly introduce ourselves matters

Being able to clearly (and quickly) introduce yourself and your business means you open up the conversation to then talk more about the intricacies of what you do, the successes it brings, and the relevancy to the person you’re talking to.

  • To make this happen, first you need to be clear about what you do.
  • Secondly you need to be able to frame it in a concise sentence or two that is relevant to the person you’re talking to.
  • Finally, you need to tell it in a way that leads to a conversation (rather than an awkward silence).

I’m a pro at the awkward silence. You see, for many years I’d meet people who’d say “Hi, what do you do?” Argh! Those four horrible words … “what do you do?”.

And I’d give the plain and simple answer … “I’m a dietitian.” Oh, I hated saying that. I’d open up the conversation flood-gates to questions about weight, weight loss, what diet should they do, why all dietitians are evil, had I heard of Pete Evans …

This was not the conversation I wanted to have. 

Introducing yourself clearly allows you to guide the conversation ahead

What you want at networking events is to have a conversation that engages and connects two people. That leaves a lasting impression on the other person who may then refer people to you, or want to work with you themselves.

So, whatever you say to answer “what do you do?” should be said to open up the conversation to where YOU want it to go. Yes, you can be in control of this.

My answer of “I’m a dietitian” left the conversation wide open for the other person to take the conversation where they wanted it to go. Leaving me struggling to get back to what I actually did, rather than what they thought of my profession.

If I’d said “Well Bob, that’s a great question. You see, many people have real problems with bloating, tummy pain and diarrhoea ruining their day. As a dietitian, I help people with digestive problems identify the foods that cause the problems and work with them to heal their gut so they can enjoy a meal out with friends and not be embarrassed by passing gas.

You can guess that Bob would stay on track with how I wanted the conversation to go, which had nothing to do with diets, Pete Evans and the pitfalls of my profession, and everything to do with a) how his wife/colleague/dog has digestive problems (and how can they get my help), how IBS is a real problem (maybe we could work together on a project for his counselling clients with IBS), how his restaurant wants to put together allergy listings on their menu (could I help).

Even if Bob has nothing to do with any of these examples, at least the conversation is now opened up enough that Bob feels he can contribute to the conversation rather than hear me go off on a half hour monologue or stand there in an awkward silence.

And next time Bob hears of someone with digestive complaints, he remembers that great conversation we had at our networking event. 

Writing a clear one-liner

Your brand message or one-liner is the key to helping you stand out from the crowd at networking events.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t need to be just one line. Or even one sentence. Most of my one-liners are about three.

Download my free brand message and one-liner toolkit and create a clear message that allows you to stand out and feel confident introducing yourself at networking events. 

Or book a discovery call and find out how I can help you create a clear message to help you confidently network and spread your message. 

Take the simple route, and let’s get together and create your very own Brand Message Report that focuses on creating a clear brand message and story for your business, including your one-liner. See what value my Brand Message Report package can bring to your business.

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